Rated 2 stars ** Ebook. 2014.
“Love by deception” is supposed to convince readers in abusive relationships that they can escape. Barnard lists tons of warning signs for them to look for in her quest to lead them away from the darkness of their sufferings. Instead of accomplishing this goal I felt like the author never listened to her own advice as she went from one abusive relationship to the other in 7 years.
Devil Man seemed so horrible, yet she went back to him THREE times! After she finally managed to set herself free from him, Barnard talked about how she needed to listen to the inner voice she’d kept ignoring about Devil Man, and went over all the ways she should have known he was a terrible person. On and on she went about how she was now a “stronger and more compassionate person” yet, after Devil Man, she still allowed herself to be manipulated by Tomcat and soon entered into another awful relationship with Cockroach followed by an abusive one with Floppy.
The takeaway for me was that she would continue not to listen to her inner voice, and would continue to date terrible men because of her habit of wanting to give these awful men in her life second chances. I would think by now that she’d realize those second and third and fourth chances were the sounds of shovels as she dug herself deeper and deeper into relationship problems.
I do not recommend this book because of its confusing message, but will leave it up to you to decide if You want to Read it or Not.
Rated 4 stars **** Ebook. Bethany House. 2013. (Includes Historical Note and Discussion Questions.)
Mollie Knox took over ownership of the 57th Illinois Watch Company after her father’s death. The shop employed 40 disabled Civil War veterans who her father had served with, and the company enjoyed a modicum of success with their exclusive watch designs. Everything changed for Mollie on an October day in 1871 when the city of Chicago burned to the ground. On that fateful day Zack Kazmarek, the handsome lawyer of her biggest buyer, fought alongside her to help save her company from the flames. Despite their best efforts, the watch company burned to the ground.
Mollie never expected to have to start her life all over again, and she never expected help to have come from a man who had previously seemed to regard her in only a businesslike manner. Within a matter of days she found herself falling for Zack but events soon led to Colonel Lowe, another handsome man and Civil War hero, stepping forward to help the lovely Miss Knox get her company in order.
With her emotions raging faster than the flames that destroyed her city, Mollie will have to choose between Zack and Colonel Lowe. The future of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, and those who depend upon her for a living, rest on Mollie figuring out her fickle heart to make a wise decision.
I enjoyed reading this book, even though the author took much historical license by having Molly parade about the city unescorted and allowing Zack to use modern language in calling her “woman,” among other details. I recommend it for Adults who enjoy reading Historical Fiction.
Rated 2 stars ** ARC. EBook. Random House. Published July 7, 2015.
Eleven-year-old Kay Shanley didn’t expect to find out her father was having an affair when she decided to open a box, which was addressed to her mother. Instead of a birthday present she found erotic emails from her father’s jilted lover, which she shared with her fifteen-year-old brother Simon. While Kay didn’t fully understand the box’s contents, Simon was furious and demanded an accounting from his mother Deb.
For her part Deb waffled between hating Jack and hating her part in his infidelities. Jack, the source of all the problems, didn’t seem to feel he’d done anything too wrong and was quite nonchalant about the whole situation.
As each family member dealt with Jack’s infidelities in their own way, they create a checkered view of the Shanley household which, at times, left me scratching my head. It felt as if each family member, except for Simon, walked around with a paper bag attached to his or her heads – unwilling to face reality.
I didn’t particularly care for this book, but will leave it up to you to decide if you want to Read it or Not.
Rated 3 stars *** EBook. 2015. Lake Union Publishing. (Includes an Afterword and Bibliography.)
Based on a true series of events that took place in the real Miramont Castle of Colorado in 1900, “Miramont’s Ghost” is the story of young Adrienne, granddaughter of the Compte de Challembelles, and her ability to see visions from the past, present or future. This gift winds up causing undue stress when she inadvertently involves her priestly cousin Jacques. Her version of events incurs the wrath of her aunt Marie, who seemed as if she had something to hide and was not happy that Adrienne revealed some of her secrets.
As Adrienne grew into a lovely young lady, her gift caused her to become introverted and withdrawn as she struggled to hide her visions. Taking advantage of her mother’s inability to stand up for Adrienne or herself, her aunt whisked her to America where she experienced terrible circumstances resulting in devastating consequences.
“Miramont’s ghost” was interesting in its depictions of history, however, Adrienne and her mother’s character quickly became tiresome. Each was unable to defend themselves against the tyranny of Marie because of their constant focus on their own inability to stand up to Marie. Adrienne spent more time fantasizing about her life than actually living it, while her mother seemed to want to live in the past rather than the present.
I liked reading the historical basis for the story in the author’s Afterword, learning facts I never knew, but was not happy with the way the story ended. I was especially annoyed that Marie and Jacques got away scot free, while Adrienne and Gerard suffered the most.
Despite these reservations I recommend it for Adult readers, primarily for its historical aspects.
Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. EBook. Poppy (Little Brown & Company). Published July 7, 2015.
Kelsey and Michelle are 17-year-old identical twins. Kelsey wants to be a dancer at KU, while Michelle wants to be a Parisian artist, but the day Michelle is killed in a car accident all Kelsey wants is to have her sister be alive again.
In the midst of her grief Peter, Michelle’s boyfriend stationed in Afghanistan, comes into the picture. He doesn’t know Michelle is dead, and Kelsey can’t bring herself to tell him. She pretends to be Michelle but, as things heat up in Afghanistan, Peter begins to rely more than ever on his relationship with Michelle/Kelsey. Though filled with guilt Kelsey is certain he won’t be able to do his job correctly if she tells him the truth, and prolongs the inevitable. What she doesn’t expect is to find herself falling in love, but how can she tell Peter she’s not the girl he thinks she is?
“A million miles away” is a story of grief and despair in the midst of hope and repair. Lara Avery captured the raw pain of loss, and brought me to tears many times.
Highly recommended for ages 14 and older.
Rated 2 stars ** ARC. EBook. W.W. Norton & Company. To be published July 6, 2015.
Nigel and Louise are all grown up but have never forgotten their mother, who abandoned them for another man when they were just children. Her defection from their family created Louise’s lifelong insecurities and Nigel’s aloofness, leading to a rift in their relationship. Having grown apart through the years, they are thrown together when their mother suddenly dies and they are called to the home she shared with her new husband Patrick.
As they forge through the cluttered remains of their mother’s life, and try to make sense of why she left them so many years ago, they each drift into flashbacks of their younger years not realizing that the past has a way of becoming the present in unexpected ways.
I had a very hard time making it through this book, as it kept boring me. I could never “bond” with the characters, and had more fun trying to figure out the meaning of British words than I had in reading Nigel and Louise’s story. I was determined to finish it for this review, but will leave it up to you to Decide if You Want to Read it or Not.
Rated 2 stars ** ARC. EBook. Riverhead Books. Published June 30, 2015.
The summer night their lives changed forever Maggie, Lindsey and Nina had gone to the Shamrock bar in their boring town outside of Orlando Florida to torture Lila and her group of insignificant friends. Before they could get properly started on the insults they had planned for the night they met Sam Decker, the actor they loved in every one of his movies and who they drooled over in magazines. In a town where nothing exciting ever seemed to happen, this was a monumental occurrence. As the three girls and Sam drank, exchanged stories, and dissected their lives Maggie goes back in time to educate readers about her friends and explain how they went from loving to hating Lila.
As the group dynamic is revealed, readers are taken through long rambling scenarios and flashbacks while leaving many unanswered questions. Though their night with Sam Decker would change their lives, “Local Girls” changed my life too. It took away 3 days of my life I will never get back.
I didn’t care for it, but will leave it up to you to Decide If You Want To Read It Or Not.