Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Contest Winners!

How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond 

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War 
Ginny from Scrappy Design
Lisa Mc

Lipstick in Afghanistan 
Ruthie and 

At Home: A Short History of Private Life
Lydia and 

Fixing Delilah Review

From Publisher: Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

My Take (containing mild spoilers):  Delilah is a 16 year old girl who has similar struggles to most other teenagers.  She has no idea where she is going and doesn't consider the consequences of her behavior.  She is living with her Type A, high strung, single mother when the call comes that her grandmother has died.  At this point in time, Delilah is in self-destruct mode and her mother is none to happy about it, either.

In order to handle all of the arrangements, Delilah and her mother drive to Vermont to cremate Grandma, clean out the house, settle the estate, and discover roots.  Turns out, Delilah doesn't know where she's going because she doesn't know her own past and relates in ambiguous ways to her corporate mother who related not at all to her mother for 8 years.

The family is rife with secrets and Delilah wants them spilled at any cost.  Her mother knows the secrets but also knows the price of sharing said secrets. An added delight is the relationships Delilah forges with her old friend, Patrick, new friend, Emily, and her aunt, Rachel.  The dialogue between each character is clever, genuine, and downright fun.  Aunt Rachel delighted me beyond words.  The rich relationship Delilah shares with her quirky aunt adds volumes to the enjoyment of this book.  Patrick's not so bad, either.

Absent character playing a starring role is Aunt Stephanie, the youngest sister of Claire and Rachel who died tragically at the age of 19.  The circumstances surrounding her death are another secret.  Through the summer of rebuilding the house, Delilah rebuilds her relationships with those closest to her.

Poignant to me, the bottle of mismatched buttons, symbolizing a false security of holding something together.  But they aren't attached to anything.  I also found symbolism in the different containers littered throughout the book as they are the holders of secrets.  As each container is opened and the contents emptied, the secrets become known.  Painful and healing, Delilah begins to discover who she is and finds that the greatest gift of all is the connection she feels to the Hannaford women.

5 stars.

Thanks to Julie from Hatchette Book Groups who provided me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
4 hearts

Monday, November 29, 2010

Unforgivable by Laura Griffin Review

Title:  Unforgivable
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Pages: 416
Stars: 4
Source: Publisher


At first, Mia Voss thinks it's just bad luck when her already lousy day ends with a carjacking, but what seems like a random incident is followed by another sinister episode. A DNA expert, Mia has made it her mission to put away vicious criminals. Suddenly, she's become the target of one. And the only way to protect the people she loves most is to deliberately destroy her reputation and risk letting a killer walk free.

Once, Mia trusted Detective Ric Santos, but that was before Ric let his turbulent past ruin his chances with Mia, the sexiest, most intriguing woman he's ever met. But he can tell when she's lying—and when she's scared. The key to catching a sadistic madman lies within a long-buried cold case that has haunted Mia for years. Only she can uncover the truth, but first, Ric will have to get her to entrust him with her secrets . . . and her life.
Although this is not the first book with these characters, it was easily read stand-alone. There was no ad nauseum catch-up from another book. Just a little snippit here and there. The story was easy to fall into. Mia finds herself in her pajamas (under some clothing), buying ice cream at a store to soothe her damaged ego. She'd just been demoted. She's trying to stay inconspicuous, buys her calories and fat, and gets in her jeep. She quickly discovers there is a man in her jeep and he seems intent on killing her. She's the main protagonist so I hope I don't spoil it too much by giving this little conflict away. She lives. But it's an exciting and page turning experience.

Enter Ric Santos, cop with a history with Mia (just sexual tension). So the conflicts include not only the Mia/Ric hook-up or not, but who and why is someone trying to kill Mia. To add morbid interest, Mia is a specialist with a doctorate in DNA study. It's her job to analyze miniscule findings from crime scenes and testify in court.

The book is easy to immerse yourself with likeable and interesting characters, intriguing storyline, and chemistry. This is not a clean read. That said, it also is not a thinly veiled plot to write about sex. The plot is much thicker than "just reading it for the articles." It is a romantic thriller. The thriller part far outweighs the romantic interludes.

I really liked it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Where Hearts Are Free Review

Where Hearts Are Free (A Darkness to Light Novel, #3)Where Hearts Are Free by Golden Keyes Parsons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's 1687, in the burgeoning town of Philadelphia, and for seven years, Bridget Barrington has watched with growing affection as Philippe Clavell worked as an indentured servant for her father, a wealthy landowner.

Her father rejects her request for Philippe to be a potential suitor as he has none of the qualities Mr. Barrington hoped for his daughter's future husband, the least of which is a respectable income.

Heartbroken, Bridget accedes to her parents' wishes and gets engaged to a man she does not love. However, Bridget's husband-to-be does not love her, but only her wealth.

But there's always light in the midst of darkness for those who have faith. This stunning historical romance concludes the gripping Darkness to Light series.

My Take: The story is a nice little introduction to the colonies at that time in history and the conflict between Catholicism and the Hugeunots (French Reformed Protestants). It is also a good introduction to the power of a woman's will at this time which is very little. Bridget loves Phillippe, a childhood friend and indentured servant but he's never considered a relationship with her. When offered freedom, he takes it and a fine horse and goes home.

Meanwhile, Bridget's biological clock is ticking - she's all of 18, you know - and needs to be married off suitably. Her parents and cousins combine their forces and choose an old man named Edward. Not Rochester. This Edward is 30 years old and probably has some baggage that should be addressed which never is. Regardless, he happens to be a man with secrets and unscrupulous business dealings. His reasons for wanting to marry Bridget are very evil, indeed.

Phillippe gets home and finally discovers Bridget's fate in her engagement to such an unsavory fellow and decides he really does have romantic feelings for her. But he is a Hugeunot and she is Catholic.

I didn't mind the story but I it didn't come together very well for me. I didn't develop much of an attachment to any of the characters. Certainly I wished for Bridget to exit her bethrothal and Phillippe to free his brother Charles, but the characters didn't develop into people for me. There is also no indication how the couple overcome their religious differences which is a big deal at this time. They were characters in a book that I will forget tomorrow.

It's not a bad book. It has a lot of good qualities. The story is good. The dialogue is cheesy but not bad. The historical aspect is accurate, although I would have liked to have that part explained in more depth. I appreciate the research the author did in order to portray the time period and also the description of the art of gun making, care of horses, and the furrier trade.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

IMM 11/27/10

I know I should wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving but I am BURNED OUT!  Sure, Thanksgiving is all about family, food, and building memories but Black Friday started at MIDNIGHT at some stores.  This totally stressed me out because I wanted to get there at a reasonable hour. I have been power shopping for two days straight.

I don't get out much.  It's sad.

This week I got these awesome titles!
The Anatomy of GhostsAll You Get Is MeThe Good SisterThe Dressmaker: A NovelEuphemania: Our Love Affair with EuphemismsYou Know When the Men Are GoneThr3eThree SecondsBlind Your PoniesThe Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer: Activities and Amusements for the Curious Paper Artist

Reviews for this week:

UnforgivableMatchedNightingaleIncarceron (Incarceron, Book 1)Sapphique

Right now I'm working on:

UnearthlyThe SherlockianWhere Hearts Are Free (A Darkness to Light Novel)

Did I mention it was my birthday?  It was my birthday.  I threw confetti in the air and watched it float down.  Then I cleaned it up and did laundry. 

But my husband spoils me.  Yes, it's true.  I have been Kindled.  Hmmm.  That sounds a bit on the sensual side. 

I got a Kindle! 

I'm going to go throw confetti over my head again just because I like to watch those little papers twirl in the air.