Monday, September 30, 2013

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes



Copy from Netgalley.com
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
What an amazing book! I could give this 100 stars! Books like this are why I love reading.  I could not put this book down! Louisa or Lou was so interesting, kind-hearted and a real person. Wil was full of complexities and even though at times he was a real jerk you could not help but fall in love with him and root for him.
I loved how Lou transformed throughout the novel and how her and Wil’s lives seemed to switch places-of sorts.  They were opposites but perfectly matched.
Lou’s family was also entertaining. The author really captured the little family quirks and she described the perfect family for Lou. I especially loved to see how her relationship with Treena evolved.
Lou seemed to bring out the best in everyone, she even made Ms. & Mr. Traynor more likeable, there were no bad guys vs good guys, just very different people joined by one person-Wil.
To me a fantastic book is one that you can’t put down, the pages are numberless because you are a part of the story, and the characters are real-or your convinced they are.  I couldn’t wait to see how it all ended but I was sad when it did.
Moyes took a very delicate matter and gave it a name and a cast of characters to humanize the issue.  Incredibly well written and as the Brits say-brilliant!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Copy from Netgalley.com for an honest opinion.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I really liked this book. I thought the author really developed and evolved her characters in a fantastic way.  Her supporting characters, especially Miriam and Paul, really added to the story and the journey that Angel ( Sarah, Amanda, Tirzah…etc…) was on. 
Michael was an outstanding hero.  Only a woman could create a man like that! Sometimes he seemed a little unrealistic and there were moments his unwavering patience was too much.

Angel definitely didn’t make a change quickly, her progress was very slow and she took many steps back.  The whole running away got to be a little too much at the end.  I did think that Paul’s role was very well written and his evolution also very slow but ultimately rewarding.  One of my favorite characters was Miriam.  She seemed very real and authentic. Her human faults and her strengths were very original.  She provided a great contrast to all the other characters. She was full of life and energy.

Overall, this was a good book. Some parts felt very long and repetitive.  I thought the author took the sins of Angel a little too far (I won’t mention that one sin that I thought was beyond all understanding)
I really liked how she incorporated the stories of the bible to reflect the lives of the characters and she specifically focused on how “human” the stories in the bible are.  This was a different read for me, but very interesting overall.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Queens' Gambit by Elizabeth Freemantle



Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Freemantle
I received this as an ARC from Goodreads.com.  I loved this book, this story, this author this plot-everything!
It took me longer to finish because I savored the writing and the story.  First, this is the first story I read about Katherine Parr.  Anne Boyle and Catherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour get the most attention since they have had such fascinating stories.  Fremantle’s story was very intriguing and she did a very thorough job of presenting Katherine Parr. 
There were some parts that Freemantle really captured.  I thought it was interesting that Katherine envied Dot’s life; she gives us an insight to Katherine’s world, “occasionally she has envied the simplicity of Dot’s life, and would have changed places with her gladly…” (p231).  Mantle paints a picture of life in court that I found to be very fascinating.  There is so much danger, back-stabbing and fear that is always lurking.  I felt very sad and protective of Katherine, her persona seemed in conflict with the deviousness around her.  I definitely want to learn more about Katherine and her life. 
Freemantle has a very fluid way of writing, it is very easy to start reading and lose track of time.   I love that Katherine was not over showed by Henry VIII’s encompassing personality.    I would love for Freemantle to continue to write a series maybe about Mary Seymour.
I would definitely re-read this and recommend it!

Silent Assasin by Leo J. Maloney



This is an ARC from Goodreads.com, Silent Assassin by Leo J. Maloney is fantastic!  This story does not disappoint.  I did not read the first “Dan Morgan Thriller” but it did not affect my understanding or enjoying this story.  Maloney’s writing is fast paced and inviting.  The action unravels right before your eyes. 
It would be interesting to know how much of Mr. Maloney’s real-life experiences were used in the writing of Morgan’s own adventures.  There are bullets flying, bombs going off.  Morgan is very James Bond meets Bourne Identity but the story has many smart and action packed scenes.   I also like his humor.   I liked Morgan’s motto: trust, but verify.
The story moves throughout all parts of the world and it’s very exciting.  Nikolai Novokoff is the perfect villain.  The whole idea of a “killer” fungus was interesting and not the least bit lame, I thought it was very original and creative.
Diana Bloch was a great female contrast to Morgan’s alpha- male-CIA character.   I definitely plan on putting “Termination Orders” on my to-read list.  This was my first spy-thriller and I really enjoyed.  I would definitely re-read this book AND recommend it.   

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra



Loved  Etched in Sand  by Regina Calcaterra.  Where to start?  Her and her four siblings grow up in a very dysfunctional lifestyle with a very sick, abusive mother.  There is a lot of physical abuse and alluded to sexual abuse.  Ms. Calcaterra is such an inspiration.  Despite having to endure responsibilities that go beyond what any young person at the age 14 or younger has to endure she beats the system.  I found her writing to be very easy to read; it seemed that she was sitting next to me telling me her story.  Her tone was friendly and inviting. 
I loved Aunt Julia and Uncle Frank, what fantastic people.  Hearing about how they played a huge part in Regina’s life and her siblings was very humbling.   I was so relieved and happy to hear that Aunt Julia finally gave Regina and her siblings a feeling of love and acceptance.
    Cookie was a horrific mother. I wish that there had been some redemption for her and that she had a least given her kids some closure but there was none.  Regine words it perfectly, “ children are supposed to find their greatest safety and comfort in the arms of their mothers.” P.57.  This did not take away from the great success that Regina and her family achieved.  When Regina finally meets her grandparents they don’t provide too much insight into what caused Cookie to be who she was. 
Regina’s relationship with her siblings was really touching and her ultimate connection with Rosie made me cry.  Regina and her siblings really are an inspiration.  They always fought for each other, “ Rosie needed us to save her, and we tried, but we couldn’t, because when you live on the fringes of society with no resources, you have no voice and your complaints are easily ignored.” (p.232)
There were so many parts that I loved but some really stood out: “ my childhood on Long Island gave me a very personal awareness for how people in power can impact the lives of others.” p.3
The disappoint with her father was very difficult to bare, after so many years and so many questions… the lengths she had to go to were astonishing. 
Our current lawmakers should have this staring at them.   The system failed Regina and her family over and over but she remains a source of inspiration, “I remember Ms. Van Dover’s words, so I perform well on Mrs. Young’s tests and participate not like my life depends on it, but because  my life depends on it.” (p.134) Throughout her life Regina uses school as her gateway to another life and the possibilities it can give her.
I wish this was required reading for everyone and anyone, “ no accomplishment has  taken place without trial, and no growth could have occurred without unwavering love.” (p.4)
Incredible!