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Book: A Breath of Eyre
Author: Eve Marie Mont
I love Jane Eyre. It is one of my favorite books. I thought a retelling would be interesting. A fresh spin. I hoped that the author would come up with something besides amnesia to explain her trip into Jane’s life. I was let down. It was the first of many let downs with this book.
Emma is a sixteen year old girl going to a boarding school on scholarship. She is a wallflower and has a slight crush on her English professor. She loves the sea until she winds up in a coma and falls into the life of Jane Eyre. Which life will she choose?
Okay, the only reason I kept reading is because I love the original. The book was painfully predictable and seemed to miss the whole point of the character of Jane Eyre. The Jane part of the story was painfully rushed and not accurate even before the character intentionally deviated from the set storyline. The author didn’t spend enough time making transitions between the character being uncomfortable in Jane’s skin to feeling at home. The whole thing felt like it needed more development. It could have been a good read. It was less than mediocre because of bad writing. How the author got to continue this series I’ll never know.
Not worth the time.
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Book: Sweet Valley Confidential
Author: Francine Pascal
Recommend: Um.. no.
I tried to resist. I really did. I knew about this book. I’ve had it in my hands a few times but fought the urge. Today I found a copy at the library and just couldn’t stop myself. I had heard it was horrible. However, after devouring who knows how many Sweet Valley books as a kid, I just had to read the train wreck that is Sweet Valley Confidential.
I was completely obsessed with these for a while as a kid. My mom really didn’t like that I was reading them, which of course, heightened their appeal. So, in a box under my bed for much of my childhood, I had a large collection of these books and read them more often than I cared to admit.
For those of you who are interested in the plot line, let me save you a couple of hours of really bad writing and poorly planned flashbacks that give away too much at once. Jessica gets divorced – again. Todd and Jessica hook up. Elizabeth finds out. She leaves for New York to become a musical theater reviewer (cause that’s gonna be the first job you land in New York right?). She takes a boy home to her grandmother’s birthday to prove that Jessica is going to cheat on Todd. It backfires and breaks her male best friend (get this… no really) Bruce’s heart. Yes that Bruce. The bad boy who almost raped her in high school. This backfires on her. Jessica is seemingly actually in love with Todd. Whoops. She goes back for Jessica and Todd’s wedding and Bruce tells her that he’s moving to New York cause he fell in love. In that second Elizabeth realizes that she has indeed fallen for her almost rapist and is sad that it isn’t her until thirty seconds later when she finds out it is. The book ends with a very disturbing adult scene and then random summaries of past characters lives.
While I wasn’t expecting Victor Hugo here, the writing was abysmal. I think there might be better written fan fiction out there. I really didn’t want adult scenes or to hear the girls swear. I also was just weirded out that Elizabeth was going through guys faster than Jessica. It was just wrong. I really just didn’t enjoy a thing about this and yet couldn’t bring myself to put the bad book down simply because it was train wreck bad.
Yep. Wished I would have stayed far far away. Please do yourself a favor. Leave sweet valley as a good distant memory. I wished I had.
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Book: Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Recommend: I was surprised by how much I liked this book.
I honestly thought there was no possible way I would like this book. Every single thing I’ve ever seen or read on mermaids (besides The Little Mermaid of course) has only ever come across as hokey and lame. I started this one figuring that I would hate it and struggle through. I was delighted to find that not only was it readable but I was thoroughly engrossed and really bummed out when I had to put the book down for a few hours for CPR and first aid training.
This story tells how wanting love for a mermaid caused a curse that would last for generations. Now Hester, the latest in a line of female descendants threatened by death, decides to figure out what she can do to keep childbirth from being a death sentence.
This book was not at all what I expected in a very good way. The fact that the characters happened to be mermaids wasn’t the center of the story but simply a complication. This was all about developing the characters and how people react when they can’t be with the person they love.
Definitely worth reading and one I won’t be letting go of anytime soon.
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Author: Charlaine Harris
Recommend: Even if you’re a fan of the series, I don’t know that you’ll enjoy this one…
Yes, I admit that I rather enjoy this series of books – or at least I used to. Right now I’m kind of fed up with them. It has started to feel like the author is a one trick pony and the main character’s decisions have become increasingly plot driven instead of character driven. While I know that these aren’t great literature, there is a certain level of integrity to the nature of the characters you create that every author should maintain. I personally feel like Ms. Harris has lost sight of that in the last couple books.
In this book, Sookie’s relationship with Eric Northman is strained and seems to be in danger. Add in problems with the fae and a very powerful gift that everyone seems to want to steal and Sookie’s life is again far too exciting for her own good. Sookie’s responses to Eric in this book just don’t come across as genuine. Eric’s responses to Sookie are ten times worse. The ending scene of the book is a HUGE cope out to create tension that will lead into the next book.
At this point, I’m about ready to stop reading this series all together. The whole thing is feeling very phoned-in.
Side note: In no way, shape or form do I endorse the TV show based on these books. True Blood is not appropriate for anyone – period.
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Recommend: Not as good as the first two, but still a fun read!
I literally dived from the second book straight into the third. I was excited to see where she would take the story. I never imagined that she would start the third book with Nora having no memory of anything that happened in the past five months including meeting Patch or Jev. I don’t know if this is just me, but when I hear amnesia, I instantly set myself up to very disappointed in the story line. This one did get better as the book continued. I was impressed that there was a plausible explanation for the amnesia, which is rare.
If you’ve read the first two books, it is worth reading the third, although it is not as strong as the first two. It is still a fun, fast-paced read and worth the time.
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Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Recommend: Definitely, if you have read the first book in the series, Hush, Hush..
Okay, I devoured this book. I also almost threw this book about six times. Even though I knew it was coming, it was still frustrating. Everything seems to be going well for Patch and Nora until he mysteriously starts spending time with Marcie, the girl who makes her life miserable. Angry, Nora breaks up with Patch. Enter Scott, the mysterious boy with a secret. Overnight, Nora’s life falls apart and she is driven further into the secret life of the angels and their offspring.
I don’t like to compare books to each other but this book is this series’ version of New Moon except instead of the boy leaving, he stays and continues to hurt her. It was an extremely engaging read. I wanted to toss it aside but had to know what was coming next and so I kept going after a few seconds.
I envision this series joining my collection as soon as I can afford it. Definitely worth the ride.
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Book: Hush, hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Recommend: This was a fun, light read
I picked up the first three books in this series at the library this a couple of weeks ago. I went to renew my books and the second book in the series was on hold and not renewable. It immediately told me what the next books on my reading list were going to be. I settled in to my couch and started reading. I finished the first book in a couple of hours.
Nora gets partnered with the strange new transfer kid in her biology class. While she finds him annoying, something else is drawing her in. Unfortunately bad things keep happening around Nora. Someone is after her and it just might be her new lab partner.
While this read was a bit fluffy, it was just a lot of fun to read. Just the right balance of suspense and romance. Besides the fact that the author couldn’t seem to pick something other than biology class, apparently the only place to meet scary boys (Twilight anyone?), this book is fast paced and engaging. Definitely worth the time and energy if you are a fan of YA fiction.
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Book: Threat of Darkness
Author: Valerie Hansen
Recommend: It’s a quick, light, fun read. Would be great beach reading material.
I got this one through netgalley, a great site for advanced reader eBooks. I was honestly a bit nervous about reading this one. ARCs can be great but this one was a Christian romance put out by Harlequin. I really didn’t keep my hopes up. I thought it would be something I would struggle through. Instead, I found it to be a fun, clean and fast-paced read.
Samantha is a nurse in the small town she grew up in. After surviving a childhood of abuse, she now spends her spare time protecting abused children. Her life completely changes the day a drug addict brings in a little boy who found his stash. After pulling a gun on the staff, a cop walked in that was all too familiar. The one person Samantha had counted on never seeing again.
This is a classic damsel in distress with the return of an old flame formula, with a Christian perspective. I was somewhat concerned because this publisher is known for its adult material and yet, this book was a simple romance with zero inappropriateness. It was a fun light read. This book is part of the Love Inspired series, a Christian set of romance books. While this book was nothing to write home about, it was a pleasant use of a couple of hours. This would make great beach reading. Something you can enjoy without getting completely sucked into. I think this series of books might be something to keep in mind when I am looking for a light, fluffy read.
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Book: The Map of Time
Author: Felix J. Palma
Recommend: Definitely worth the read!
I originally saw this book sitting on the shelves at my local Barnes and Noble. I really wanted to pick it up and read it but there was something else I needed to read and so I decided against it. I subsequently forgot about it until I saw it on the shelves at the library a couple of weeks ago. Immediately I recalled my desire to read it and hastily shoved it in my overflowing book bag. I cannot go to the library, it seems, without filling my bag to the brim and beyond.
This book was not what I was expecting. The jacket gives a hint of the plot at the end of the book, but is rather misleading. I’m not sure the jacket writer actually read the book. The Map of Time begins with a wealthy young man falling in love with one of Jack the Ripper‘s victims and his attempt at suicide. His well-meaning cousin enlists the help of H.G. Wells and they fake an episode of time travel to ‘save’ her, even though he cannot be with her.
H.G. Wells, 1910 (Photo credit: LSE Library)
The basic idea of the book is how one writer’s flight of fancy can have an effect on the real world in simple yet profound ways. I found the book very interesting and was able to make it through rather quickly, even though I am currently fighting off a reading slump. Particularly, the very obvious narrator was written in a refreshing, humorous way that made me laugh out loud a few times.
The only negative I can find with the book were some moments that could have been left to the reader’s imagination that were for some reason described in detail. For me, this is a personal pet peeve since I end up skipping over such material, even though I don’t like missing part of book.
This one is definitely worth picking up, especially if you are a fan of H.G. Wells, time travel or speculative fiction in general. I personally enjoyed it more than the work of Mr. Wells itself. I am very eager to read his next book, which should be out in the near future.
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Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Recommend: If you are a fan of the Bronte sisters and like a good mystery.
Have you ever had a book that you were just plain curious about? I’ve heard about this one. Had it in my hands more than once and never got around to picking it up and reading it. I wished I had found this one sooner.
This book tells the story of a young woman who has her first job out of school, working as a companion to a wealthy older woman. She meets a man of society and falls in love with him but she is sure that he does not return her feelings. As she is ready to leave for New York, she meets him to say goodbye and he proposes to her. She accepts his proposal but as soon as the honeymoon is over she finds herself in the shadow of the first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca.
I don’t want to ruin the plot for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, but it has one of the best plot twists I have ever read! I can see how many have tried to imitate this writer in one way or another in modern material and none of it quite does this justice. Definitely worth the time and something I have a feeling I’ll be downloading onto my nook soon.
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Book: The Piano
Author: Jane Campion
I picked this one up on the recommendation of a bookseller at my favorite used bookstore, Bookman’s. When she found out that I was a musician she told me that I simply must read this book and then watch the movie. After reading the book, I don’t see any movie viewing in my future.
Since I don’t think this one is fit to be read, here is the basic idea. (Skip this paragraph if you plan to read it!) This book tells the story of a woman with a young daughter who is married off to a man she has never met. She is mute and communicates through sign language and using her notepad but her real method of communication is through her piano. When her new husband refuses to have it brought to the house, it creates a rift that cannot be mended. Then someone offers to take the piano off his hands in exchange for land and payment. Ada is devastated but eventually must go teach him because it is the only way for her to play. However no one expected how things would develop and Baines falls for Ada, eventually convincing her to cheat on her husband. Furious the husband locks her in the house to keep them apart and then when that doesn’t work, tries to end her piano playing forever. He realizes he has gone too far and lets his wife leave him.
While the power of music was portrayed well, the book centers more on the adult themes, not the music. There were many places I skimmed or completely skipped. I have no doubt the movie is far worse. This just wasn’t a book for me and one to stay away from if you are a more conservative reader.
Author: Beatriz Williams
Recommend: This book was amazing. This goes double for fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife.
I have been trying to read this book for two weeks now. Something always seems to be getting in the way. Finally, today once I was out of work for my final day of the school year, I was able to sit down and finally get started on this book. Once I was started I couldn’t put it down even though I spent the whole rest of the day with my mom running errands. By the time I reached my cousin’s birthday party this evening, I was at the climax of the book and couldn’t seem to put it down. Thankfully my family is used to, as my husband calls it, my antisocial tendencies and mostly left me alone to finish my book.
Sometimes there are books that just grab your attention and pull you along. Something you can’t put down. Something you can’t forget. This is one of those books. I think this is going to be a book I come back to repeatedly simply because the story is just too good to read once and never revisit. This book tells the story of Kate, an investment banker who gets assigned to work on a case with one of the richest men in New York. Instantly they seem to hit it off. Then he disappears only to rescue her in the strangest way. There is something intense going on between them. Is it just love at first sight or something much more that started long before either of them could have been born?
While there are some adult scenes, it is not the focus of the book and for the most part they are brief and some form of a fade-to black (although not as chaste as other authors I could mention) and doesn’t distract from the story. I actually admire her restraint and class on this. I’ve been wracking my brain for a negative of this one all night and one just isn’t coming to me! When I can’t come up with something bad to say, the writer really has something special. I can’t wait to read more from this author!
Need more than one copy!!
I am starting a new series of posts in addition to my book reviews and bookworm rants called notable characters. Instead of focusing on the book itself, I decided to take a slightly different approach and discuss some of the characters that stand out the most to me in some of my favorite books.
The first character I knew I had to tackle was Jane Eyre. She is not the most popular of the romantic heroines but the one I find the most compelling. An average girl who finds the right man for her who loves him even though he has a secret that could ruin them both. She makes the right choice even when it is painful and is rewarded for her brave decisions in the end.
I love Jane because she is so ordinary and reserved. She doesn’t seek the spotlight but stands up for what is right when she feels it is necessary. Jane is not your typical, look at me, type of heroine. She stays in the shadows, content to observe rather than be in the thick of things. I find her skepticism refreshing and real. She cannot believe that someone as wealthy as Mr. Rochester could ever love a simple governess, which at the time would be very unusual.
Jane and Adele
Her compassion for little Adele, even after she finds out the truth of her parentage, is amazing considering the attitude that would have been prevalent at the time. As a teacher myself, I connect well with her attitude towards her pupil are great even though she comes from a rough background. It reminds me how much those kids who come from a rough background need me even more than those who are lucky enough to have stable home lives.
I recently introduced my mom to this book. She was immediately sucked in and it kept her attention for quite a while but she recently confessed that she got bogged down in the book. I smiled and told her exactly where she got bogged down and I was right. If you find yourself reading through this one and get tied up in one spot, I would encourage you to push through. The reward is worth the 50 pages or so where the story seems to derail a bit.
Jane and Edward
I love the way that Jane loves people even though she is reserved and a classic introvert. She is one of my favorite characters and if you haven’t read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, you are missing out on one of the best heroines of the time.
I’m also toying with the idea of doing a list of notable authors but not sure. Would that be interesting to anyone?
Author: April Lindner
Recommendation: It was quite good.. almost as good as the original.
I have always been a big fan of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It was one of my favorite books growing up. I’ve worn out several copies and occasionally pick it back up, especially when I’ve read lots of books that I found to be disappointing and am simply dying for a good read. I find the story completely captivating. It is the original dark romance.
When I read the back cover of this book, I couldn’t help but pick it up, just to see how poor a job the author had done. I was surprised to find that not only did the author not ruin it, she did a good job of updating the story in a modern yet familiar way. This story follows a young woman named Jane who is having to drop out of college since her parents died and take a job as a nanny for a somewhat reclusive rock star’s daughter. As she gets to know her employer, she begins to fall for him. Just as it seems like everything is going right, his darkest secret ruins them both.
The author’s version of Jane embodied the spirit of the orginal while creating a more independent version that is more fitting of modern times. Nico is just as brooding but slightly less harsh than Edward. I personally didn’t like how much they changed his name but I supposed some things had to be different. I liked the fact that they gave Nico something to do. It gave his character a focus that it would have lacked had the author simply tried to translate him directly. Even little Maddy is a great update from the little girl in the book. I loved the pacing and way the story was balanced. Just enough of the old tempered with some change, although not so much as to make it unrecognizable.
There were only a couple things I didn’t like. To begin with, the whole section with River and his sisters was a bit awkward. I think that the character wasn’t updated enough. I also didn’t like that you don’t get to see the end result for him this time. I am not a particular fan of that portion of the book anyway, so I think I might have some bias there. My other complaint is the fact that the love story played out somewhat differently than it did in the book. That part was a bit too modern for me. It was done tastefully though, which at least that much I appreciated.
This one is definitely worth your time. If you haven’t read the classic, I can almost guarentee that this book will make you want to. I’m considering fishing my copy out and tearing through it or reading it on my nook now that I’ve read this.
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Books: A Voice in the Wind, Echo in the Darkness, and The Sure Dawn
Author: Francine Rivers
Okay in my last post I mentioned a book series that my friend lent me that I completely loved and this is it I have to admit, I was extremely skeptical when I started this. I delayed starting it for a bit simply because I didn’t know if I would like it or hate it and I didn’t want to upset my friend who had tried so hard to find books that I would enjoy. So I picked them up slightly worried and within the first twenty pages or so I was completely hooked!
This book tells the story of a young woman named Hadassah who is a servant in a Roman house when Christianity was still new. She falls in love with a man named Marcus but he does not share her faith. She ends up going to the Colosseum to be killed for sport because she is a Christian. Her death changes Marcus’ life as well as his sister’s. I don’t want to give too much away but this is a must read series. It is one of the few works of Christian fiction that I absolutely love!
The writing is solid, the plot is deep and complex and the characters practically leap from the page. I rarely react to books emotionally (I can list the times it’s happened on one hand- 1. When Edward left in New Moon- my book met the wall; 2. The Count of Monte Cristo- enough said 3. The books of Terry Goodkind- every book created an emotional response and usually much more than one 4. Les Miserable- again enough said; and 5. this series) but these brought me close to tears. Even if you aren’t a Christian these are an amazing and intense read, definitely worth the time!
Need more than one copy!!
yes that is the cover- not even kidding!!
Book: White Chocolate Moments
Author: Lori Wick
Recommend: Well… it was enjoyable but nothing to write home about
A friend of mine who likes a very different kind of book than I do lent this one to me a while ago. I had been reluctant to pick it up because just looking at the cover told me it was going to be one of those formula Christian romance novels. I was somewhat correct.
The general plot wasn’t too bad. The details on the other had were awful. I spent the whole book trying to forget that the main character was rich and had a perfect figure and looked like a movie star. I think it would have been a good read if it weren’t for the fact that it was completely unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, there was some of it that I enjoyed but I kind of felt like I was reading the Christian adult version of Sweet Valley High book.
There were some good points though. The first half of the book wasn’t half bad and the conflict with the main character’s cousin was really well written. It seemed like the writer understood how this kind of conflict would feel. Some parts of Arcie were beleivable and interesting however there were point where I couldn’t help but screaming rediculous at the pages. There was no real conflict.
This is one of those books that I’m glad I don’t own and I will be glad to return.
I do have to defend my friend though. This one was a flop for me but the books she lent me before this one were amazing- I really should review them especially since I’ve purchased them for all the Christian women I know that don’t have them yet Okay- look for another post for me in a bit!
Book series: The Vampire Diaries
Author: L.J. Smith
Recommend: Not if it was the last book series on earth!!
Okay, I have to admit- I have been sucked into the all things vampire craze. I am a not so closet Twilight fan. You will never see a review of the Twilight Saga on here because I know that I can’t write an objective review. However, after my tenth time through the series, I knew that I needed to find something else to read. My Edward obsession was getting a bit out of control. Someone recommended this book series to me. I have never been so disappointed in a book series- ever! The moment I finished the first four books I had to go back and read Twilight again to restore my faith in vampire books – not kidding.
This series centers around a rich, shallow girl named Elena and two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon. I can’t say much more about the plot line without complete disbelief on your part. I am not kidding! It’s just THAT BAD! The author forced a love triangle that makes no sense, Elena becomes a vampire (and way too early) and it just get more ridiculous the further you read. Beyond the flat and improbable plot, the characters are completely awful! Elena is so shallow it hurts and then she goes through a complete personality makeover with no motivation. Stefan is too wimpy to be believable (this coming from an Edward girl) and Damon is just too unpredictable to be valid.
From what I hear, the TV show is nothing like the books but I have not been brave enough yet to try watching it after suffering through the horrific tragedy that is the book. It makes better kindling than it does a novel. I may tackle the show this summer but I almost anything would be an improvement on this- don’t waste your time reading words behaving this badly!
Book: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
I just watched the movie (finally) and was reminded that I haven’t talked about this one yet! This is one of my favorite books that I’ve read lately. The characters are amazing. However it will make you cry. I’ve read it three times and have cried every time I read it.
The story centers around Henry and Claire. Henry meets Claire for the first time when she is six. He arrives in the meadow by her parent’s house without a stitch on. She gives him her blanket and a remarkable relationship begins. The only hitch is that Henry’s life is complicated because he travels through time.
There really is no downside to this book in my opinion. This is a read that you should expect to not put down!
The movie’s pretty good as well. It doesn’t deviate too far from the book.
Need more than one copy!!
Book: Sundays at Tiffany’s
Author: James Patterson
Recommend: Yes- satisfying read
I picked up this book at the library on a whim. I liked it so much that I went out and bought a copy. The story is about a little girl who has an imaginary friend who is not quite as imaginary as her mother thinks. There are rules and because of her age her friend goes away. The children are supposed to forget their friends over time, but this little girl never does. What happens when she meets up with him again as an adult?
This adorable book was a fun read. I loved the main characters and found it very heartwarming. It brought back many memories of my invisible childhood playmates. The only possible negative is that it is a bit too sweet in a couple places but that is easily forgiven.
Definitely an enjoyable light summer read.
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