Monday, April 30, 2012

Review of The Violets of March

Synopsis in a Sentence: A thirty something woman, Emily, reeling from a painful divorce decides to seek rest and refuge across the country with her aunt in Washington State, but finds herself embroiled in several mysteries instead.

My Thoughts:
This was an intriguing novel! It definitely kept my interest and I found myself turning the pages until well after dark on a few nights :). 

First of all, Emily is a pretty likable heroine...we can all identify with having a broken heart and what healing it entails. She finds out that her seemingly "perfect" husband has been cheating on her, and decides to flee New York City for the sanctuary of Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Washington. Her great aunt Bee lives there and tries to help Emily make sense of her life again. In her great aunt's quaint cottage, Emily happens upon a red velvet diary, which holds a delicious mystery concerning her aunt as well as other characters. She sets out to solve the mystery, discovering a new romance along the way.

What I liked:
The mystery itself was intriguing, if a little confusing. I had to go back and re-read a few parts to make sure that I figured it out correctly. I also loved the descriptions of Bainbridge sounds like such a beautiful place and the imagery used by the author made me feel like I was there. The cover art is what attracted me originally to the book...take a look above, it really is lovely! Who says you shouldn't judge a book by its cover?!

What I didn't love:
The romance between Emily and her new man seemed a little contrived and rushed given her recent, crushing divorce. The pair fall in love in a mere several weeks...but I guess there's nothing wrong with a little love at first sight! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Review of The Wednesday Letters

Synopsis in a Sentence: After the death of their parents, Jack and Laurel, three adult children try to cope with their loss, while uncovering family secrets along the way.

My Thoughts:
What a quaint and charming book written by author Jason F. Wright! The best kinds of books are the ones which inspire deep feelings within you, and this novel did that for me.

First of all, I love the cover- a deep, rich red with a vintage feel to it. I sort of felt like I might find this book in an antique store, hidden away like a delicious secret next to other dusty, time worn tomes. For those of you, like me, who like to read certain types of books during certain seasons of the year, or even in different types of weather- this is a perfect novel to read around Valentine's Day, which is what I did, even though I am posting about it in April! (I'll slap my hand later for being behind on my reviews again!)

The characters. Jack and Laurel: the two lovebirds. Matthew, Samantha and Malcolm: the three adult children struggling to cope with their parents deaths and find some redemption for themselves in the process. After their parents die in one another's arms at their bed and breakfast, the trio find stacks of love letters that Jack wrote to Laurel throughout the course of their marriage. I won't spoil it, but a shocking family secret is revealed in the letters, prompting them to question everything they know about themselves and their faith.

This book will make you laugh and cry-but most of all, it will inspire you. A sweet, little book about the power of love, faith, family and forgiveness...

Unfortunately, my husband already said "no" to my request for Wednesday letters, but perhaps you will have better luck with your hubby! Slip him this book and it's possible his views on romance and your relationship will change forever :). *Sigh*

Monday, March 5, 2012

Review of Letters from Home

Synopsis in a Sentence: Three friends, Liz, Betty and Julia find themselves searching for love and adventure during the World War II era.

My Thoughts:
This was just such an absolutely lovely and charming book! I really loved it. The romance in this novel (which I believe is a debut for Kristina McMorris), is quaint, simple and so sweet. I have always been interested in the romance and heroism so prevalent during the World War II years. My Grandfather was injured while flying in a B-24 plane during the war, and I have never forgotten his story.

I love this book so much that I kinda wish I had written it hehe! :) It's one that I might even read again one day, which doesn't happen very often in my reading life. This book also has one of the prettiest covers I've ever seen- it's very vintage looking and feminine and is what attracted me to the book in the first place.

The gist of this story is that Liz meets a soldier, Morgan at a USO dance, shortly before he is about to be sent overseas. There is a misunderstanding between them, but they still end up writing letters to one another while Morgan is fighting the war in Europe. Meanwhile, Liz's best friends also are dealing with their own love lives and choices.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sweet, sugary romance in anticipation of Spring! This would make a great beach read for those who are already embarking on vacations. Enjoy!!! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Review of The Red Pyramid

Synopsis in a Sentence: Carter and Sadie Kane, brother and sister, use their newly discovered magical powers to embark on an adventure to play their part in awakening the ancient Egyptian gods in order to save the world.

My Thoughts:
What a cute book (and series!) by Rick Riordan, author of the widely popular Olympians series featuring Percy Jackson. I actually haven't read the Olympians series yet, but I have the first two books on my to-read shelf! My mom gave me the first two books of this series for Christmas and so I jumped right in!

The Kane kids finally find out that they have magical powers when their archeologist father disappears after blowing up the Rosetta Stone at a museum in London. Their uncle, Amos, and the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bast, explain to them who they are (magicians who are able to channel ancient Egyptian magic), and tell them that they are to go on a quest to stop an evil god, Set from rising up and building the Red Pyramid which he will use to control the Earth. The Kanes realize that they must resurrect the other gods in order to help them do this. In other words, Ancient Egypt still lives.

Sound confusing? It actually is a little bit, and that's my only qualm with this book. It's meant for young adults, even kids, and I just had the feeling that this might be over their heads somewhat. However, it's a fascinating and fun adventure, and you really do learn some stuff about Ancient Egypt which is informative and cool! Rick Riordan writes fluidly and the action scenes are very well placed. Sadie and Carter are uniquely and well developed characters- you can't help but come to care about them. There were also a few laugh out loud moments in this book- I think Mr. Riordan probably has a pretty good sense of humor :).

I've always been interested and fascinated by Egyptology, and that's why I was excited to read this book! There are five books in the Olympians series, so I'm sure this author is planning on adding more to this series as well- can't wait to see what other adventures Sadie and Carter fall into next!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review of last Eragon book

Synopsis in a Sentence: In the last book of the Inheritance cycle, dragon Rider, Eragon finally faces the evil king, Galbatorix and his destiny.

My Thoughts:
Wow, finally! Chris Paolini finally has wrapped up his Inheritance cycle, which began with the book, Eragon. I have to admit that while I loved Eragon, the rest of the series has been slowly a little bit of a downhill trek for me. Paolini definitely took us all on a journey through Alagaesia (the world in which this series takes place) and I came to love all of the characters, but this book leaves us wanting a little more, I think. It's a great book, don't get me wrong, and I will always love this series and think fondly of it, but I agree with many of the reviews on Amazon...there was just something missing.

This book still does deliver in many ways, however. The characters grow, learn and continue to be fleshed out by the author. Many of the action scenes are pretty exciting and intense- they reminded me of the epic battle scenes in Lord of the Rings. There is also a satisfying conclusion between Eragon and Galbatorix at the end of the novel.

But...there are some questions left unanswered that I personally feel Paolini should have addressed. We have been on this journey with him for years, and I feel he owed it to his readers to have everything wrapped up and concluded. I also feel as if Paolini was trying too hard to make this book an "epic fantasy." Some of the events feel forced and at a whopping 860 pages, there are things that could and should have been edited out, such as a random child birthing scene with minor characters, and a corny "battle" episode with Roran, Eragon's cousin.

*Spoiler alert*

There are many reviews on Amazon by fans who absolutely hated the fact that Eragon and Arya did not end up together. Surprisingly, I disagree with them, although I can definitely understand why they are upset. For some reason, the unrequited love thing works for me. From the very beginning of the series, I just had this feeling that they wouldn't end up together. For one thing, Arya is a lot older than Eragon, and she had like a fifty year romance with another elf, Faolin. To go from that to being with essentially, a boy, was a stretch for her, and I always got that. I think Paolini avoided cliches and added a deeper element to his book by ending things the way he did with these two characters.

However, before you get too mad at me, I have read books before where it drove me absolutely insane when characters didn't get their happy ending, and so, I can definitely sympathize with those who are disappointed. For example, I am still dying and hoping to see King Zachary and Karigan get together in the Green Rider series, which isn't looking very promising per the latest book in the series #4 (wiping tears!). Therefore, I do understand!

Overall, I am still giving this book 4 keys because I have really liked reading this series from the beginning, even though there's been some tedious aspects to everything. If you are looking for a quasi- epic fantasy series geared toward young adults with romance, dragons, magic, and the whole good vs. evil thing, check out this series. I would definitely recommend it. Congratulations to Paolini for finally finishing his Cycle! It's been a great adventure, I think, for him and for us.