Monday, September 4, 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

I'm not even sure if I'm supposed to post this as I received an advanced reading copy of this book.  So, I'm feeling a bit of pressure considering it was a "gift".  In summary, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, a delight for those who love contemporary romance, encounters Sarah Hollenbeck, a famous risque romance writer that has a very abrupt career and life change when she attends church one Sunday and decides to dedicate her life to Jesus Christ. With her new found faith she must walk away from the world of erotic novels and into the world of bible scriptures and tithing.

Any genre of romance is artful deception. This manuscript is no exception. The characters fall in love too fast, make life changes too fast, and adopt new ideals and principles too fast. Although, I must say that Turner avoids the sweet sappiness that makes me turn up my nose at romance novels. I will consider that this is an uncorrected proof and hope that the final edition includes a solid foundation with a little more meat and potatoes. This version is very skeletal and doesn't begin to touch the surface when considering the struggles that a rich and famous secular novelist would endure when switching to a life of Christianity and diving head first into a relationship with her pastor. I guess I was looking for more and this book didn't give it to me.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

imgres.jpg  I loved reading about Hattie's children. This book is not your typical read. The book opens in 1925 with the story of Hattie's first born twins, Philadelphia and Jubilee, and continues with a view into the lives of her twelve children. I read many negative reviews and put this book on the back burner for quite some time because of what I had heard. I am glad I decided to take a chance and read these "short stories." This book is beautiful in a way that takes you into another atmosphere. You cannot have a mediocre soul or you will not enjoy this book. You have to be prepared to take this book for what it is. It is writing that is purely heartbreaking in its honesty. This is what people go through in life, this is real struggle. We all know that everything is not coming up daisies in life and Mathis was not afraid to pen that to paper. The family relationships, the affairs, the sex, the hope, the struggle; it is all in there. It proves that just because a family can move out of oppression does not mean that the oppression ever stops coursing through their blood. Everyday is a survival and Hattie did her best to raise her children in the right way. She wanted to raise them into soldiers in order to fight in the battle of life. I truly felt Hattie's character, her pain and her heart when I reached page (236), "She had failed them in vital ways, but what good would it have done to spend the days hugging and kissing if there hadn't been anything to out in their bellies? They didn't understand that all the love she had was taken up with feeding them and clothing them and preparing them to meet the world. The world would not love them; the world would not be kind." I have read complaints from other readers regarding the format of this book. Yes, it is a series of short stories. No, it is not written with a plot and the characters do not intertwine except for the fact that they share the same mother and father. Does that matter? Does one need a plot in order to enjoy a story, a book for what it is? Accept this book for what it is and I think you will see the beauty and the treasure in it. I did.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp ObjectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Exciting, witty, a masterpiece. Gillian Flynn writes with expertise. I kind of LOVE her. There is no mediocrity. Her stories are well researched and written in a way that grabs you and keeps you intertwined until the very last page. This is suspense personified. She writes the kind of books that you cannot talk about without giving the story away. That takes talent. Keep 'em coming Flynn. I'm addicted to you like a bad habit!
Camille Preaker is a cutter. Words such as cook, cupcake, and petticoat etched on her skin by her own hand. Her first carved word at the age of thirteen, WICKED. Carved with her mother's steak knife, across her pubic bone. Camille, a Chicago Daily Post reporter, is sent to investigate two gruesome killings in her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri. Two young girls were killed nine months apart. One body was found in the creek, the other was wedged between a beauty parlor and a hardware store. The murderer removed both girl's teeth with a plier. Gruesome. As Camille works her way through the town interviewing reluctant neighbors and witnesses, she begins to identify with the victims and uncovers a truth that will send her into a tailspin.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips

I know, I know. This book was published in 2009 and I am just now getting around to reading it. I wasn't planning on purchasing this book. I was perusing the aisle and Barnes & Noble when I spotted it. There she was. On the discount table. Hardback and discounted, so I grabbed and I purchased because I love reading memoirs. The juicier, the better.

Laura Mackenzie Philips was born in 1959, her father the late John Phillips, rock and roll royalty, and the lead singer of The Mamas & the Papas. Her life was destined for excess. She did drugs and partied with her father and his famous friends. Her rise to stardom began when she was cast in the movie American Graffiti. This movie helped her to stand out on her own and forge a career for herself. Her rise was not angelic or sober. I enjoyed reading about Mackenzie's life. This book is crazy and I like crazy. There were times when I wondered if I could believe what I was reading. She had an incestual relationship with her father, which threw me for a loop because from the second I read this, it was very confusing. The circumstances that lead up to the relationship are not brutal or repulsive. It seems as if they fell into each other. He did not force her. She was an adult. She was married. They would get wasted and she would wake up with her panties around her ankles. This book has some pretty heavy scenes and I am surprised that Mackenzie survived all of her drug use and abuse. This book, like most books that reveal a tumultuos life, will keep you turning the pages. The well-rounded reader should have this in their collection.

♥♥♥♥ - Like it!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Just a thought...

I have not posted a book review in ages. Life gets in the way. Also, I have been so uninspired by many of the books that I have read recently. I know that in the world of creativity there are really no bad books. It is all a matter of taste and opinion. I guess none of the books that I have read motivate me to want to write about them. So, I now want my blog to be about things related to books and the print world. I no longer want to be limited to blogging about one thing. I feel so limited and out of sorts when I try to force myself to stay within my book blogging box. I have also started a new blog where I blog about various topics. I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is so much fun and I don't filter my language or opinions. I love my blog. It is my baby and I want my baby to be well rounded.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Room by Emma Donoghue

I purchased this book, it sat on my shelf for two months. I picked it up, I put it down. Repeatedly. I finally decided to begin reading this story in late 2011. The story of a young woman, kidnapped, brutalized. A child born out of that brutality, a baby boy, in an 11' x 11' soundproof room in the backyard of an unassuming house. Jack is turning five-years-old as the story begins. He and his mother, whom we only come to know as "Ma" are being held against their will by "Old Nick", a man who tricked Ma at the age of 19 into getting into his pickup truck, and the rest is the story of Room. I will honestly say that it took me what seems like forever to "get into" this book. The narrative voice of a five-year-old boy who has never been out of the shed that he was born in was hard for me to wrap my head around. I skipped some of the pages to get to the meat of the story, but in the end this is a story that I cherish. I cannot imagine the vile horrors that the mother in this story endured. I cannot imagine the stunted development of Jack, who has never seen the world. He only knows what he has seen on television and what his "Ma" has taught him in the years that they have survived in this hell. I have read many books and they tell of fear, defeat, death, but this book touches on a reality that we don't often get to experience. What if you were kidnapped and locked away in a drab grey shed for seven years. Think about it. Would you know how to socialize with other people when you were finally freed? Would your eyes work the same? Your limbs? Your immune system? This is a book that is on another level. This book will make you think differently about captivity. The zoo even. I love a book that teaches me something new and makes me want more. I did not want this story to end because I wanted to follow Ma and Jack all the days of their lives and see the world re-birthed through their eyes.

♥♥♥♥ - A must read!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Touched by Angels by Peggy Webb

 If you peruse through my blog you will see that I do not typically read romance novels, but Barnes & Noble was offering this book as a free download for my nook color, so HELLO, I had to read it!

The story centers around Sarah Love, a beautiful, guarded, single-mother who is doing her best to raise Jenny, her four-year-old "special" daughter, and Jake Townsend, a handsome millionaire who falls in love with mother and daughter after he narrowly escapes hitting Jenny with his motorcycle when she wanders into the road.

Jake, his heart ripped apart by a tragic incident from his past, struggles to accept and prove his love to Sarah who was tossed aside by her husband because of the pressures of raising a child with special needs. These two embark on a complicated and whirlwind romance that will touch your heart. The true heart string puller (is that a real phrase?) and star of this book is Jenny. How could you stop yourself from falling in love with a character that hugs Jake around the knees and looks into his eyes and says, "ake" (yes, without the J). I love it!

I will probably always shy away from romance novels, but I believe that a true book lover is open to reading all genres and I am glad I gave this one a go-round. It was simple and yes, a little corny at times, but isn't that what romance is made of?