Superman’s Cape – Brian Spangler

GENRE:  Adult Fiction
FORM: eBook

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):

When Sara Connely is asked what life is like today, she answers with the simple words, ‘life goes on.’ The life she and her boys enjoyed the last dozen years is gone. Sara struggles to cope with the death of her husband and doing so with two young boys, and no money, is almost too much to ask.

Life does go on, but when Sara’s oldest boy becomes lost in Croatan National Forest, life comes to a stop.

Twelve-year-old Kyle Connely doesn’t know the woods. He doesn’t know the wildlife. He doesn’t know how to get home. Lost in the wilderness, he faces dangers the likes of which he has never seen. Kyle’s time is running out. A hurricane is looming, and in its path is the coastal forest he is trying to survive.

Jacob Hanson has a gift. An intuition. An insightfulness. And it has helped him find success. But his gift turns into a curse as he becomes an unwilling participant in Kyle’s plight.

What Jacob Hanson doesn’t know is he also holds the key to Sara’s past and the lifetime she lost with her husband.

REVIEW:  Superman’s Cape draws you in straight from the beginning with the sad tale of how a mother (Sara) and her two boys lost their father. Immediately, especially as a mother, I was sympathetic and attached to this story. Once hooked, it took no effort to rope me into this book – a family going through tragedy, finding more along the way, a man with a special gift; how their lives are colliding.

Since the book was told from a variety of perspectives, you were able to see the story from multiple points of view, which was very effective in this case. I found it especially interesting in the case of Jacobs half of the book, seeing him from different angles as his gift took form and interrupted his life, it painted a picture that was a bit painful yet at the same time interesting to watch. Jacob is a mystery bigger than Kyle being lost in the woods. What is going on seems to shift and take different forms until you find the unexpected answer at the end.

For Sara and Kyle’s half of the book, I was filled with so much compassion and hurt for that family. I cannot imagine cooping with such tragic loss only to be thrown into the mix of another devastating event. Their story was so nicely told all the way up until the end, where things started to wrap up a little too quickly for me. Being so intimate with Kyle in the woods, I would have liked to have known the point of being carried out of the woods to his recovery. Not in so much detail mind you, but there seems to be a gap; seeing as how everyone was trapped in the trailer, huge storm coming, and Kyle being so close to death…. (I apologize if that seemed spoiler-y in anyway, but I’m thinking most of the information given here was in the synopsis as well..)

I will say that while the story wrapped you in from the beginning and kept you reading until you found out what’s going to happen, many, many times I found the writing to be extremely graphic. Reading mostly Young Adult and Drama/Romance novels, this is something I’m not used to. Even some of the crime and mystery books I’ve read, the attention to the gory details was never all that intense. I do think that the details did add to the experience of the book some, but it walked the fine line of overkill in my opinion. Another small annoyance – and I don’t know why this bothered me so much, but to use the word “giggled” for a man seems wrong, it seems teenagy and girly to me. The word was also used semi-frequently. Synonyms go a long way! “Chuckled” seems more adequate for a man.

BOOK REVIEW: A Kiss at Midnight – Eloisa James

GENRE: Adult Fiction – Romance – Fairytale
FORM: eBook

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):  Miss Kate Daltry doesn’t believe in fairy tales . . . or happily ever after.

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince . . . and decides he’s anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiancée, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn’t love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him.

Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble . . .

Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune . . .

Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

REVIEW:  I do believe I have found a new “favorite author.” A friend of mine was looking for fairy-tale based stories to read when she came across A Kiss at Midnight, and knowing my tendencies suggested the book to me before she was even half-way through. I do love a good fairytale re-tell! And this one is fabulous!

I will say that one, the cover of this book is NOT how I pictured Kate at all, and two – I’m not sure who wrote this synopsis because it doesn’t really do the book justice…so my suggestion is to read and decide for yourself.  The characters are fun, and loveable. While Mariana, the “evil step-mother” is arrogant and snobby and not too bright; she isn’t detestable. Neither is Victoria, the step-sister. I actually kind of like Victoria, even if she got her lip bitten by a dog because she was feeding it meat from her mouth (uh, YUCK!) Kate, our Cinderella, is so brass and funny. She’s clever and quick witted, but she’s also self conscious and unsure of herself.

I love that this is a fairytale retell of Cinderella, but I also love that Eloisa James has slide in references to other books as well. I’ve caught several, and I almost wonder if I’ve missed some. One of the more notable would be Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as Romeo and Juliet (which is mentioned by name more than simply referenced). The storyline doesn’t actually move in that direction at all, it’s just…there. I don’t know if it was purposefully done, but my mind finds similarities between Kate and Gabriel, and Elizabeth and Darcy of the ever famous Pride and Prejudice. The book has also had me laughing out loud at some of the crazy scenes, and funny moments, and witty over-the-top characters.  Henry (aka Henrietta) makes a crazy and atypical fairy godmother.

The chemistry between Kate and Gabriel is notable from the moment they meet, but it is nowhere near the Disney version of love at first sight, however annoyance is very quick to turn into infatuation. The two of them fight it (the attraction) but bringing them together is instant flames, along with sharp tongues. The romance between them is hot and heavy and – a romance lovers dream.

I highly recommend the book! It is very well written, a lovely interpretation, and just plain entertaining!!!

BOOK REVIEW: Chasing Rainbows – Kathleen Long

GENRE: Adult – Fiction
FORM: eBook

Book 2 of the 2012 eBook Challenge

SYNOPSIS: “Hard times” is minor in comparison to what Bernadette is going through. Her husband has left her for another woman; another life. Her father just died unexpectedly. And if that isn’t bad enough, her dog got kicked out of obedience school….again. The death of her father and her husband leaving has also brought on an onslaught of memories from five years prior, when her one and only child, Emma, died of a heart defect at 5 days old. Despite wanting to wallow in a pool of chocolate and self pity, Bernie knows she has to press forward and move on with her life the best she can.

REVIEW:
Outside of having a hard time not thinking “am I going to have to change my name to Bernice Matice,” (line from Hope Floats movie) every time I read the main character’s name, even though it was Bernadette and NOT Bernice…, I found Chasing Rainbows to be a beautiful and uplifting book about life and getting through it’s hard times. Now that I think about it, Hope Floats was very similar to this book in many ways, and now I’m wondering about the inspiration for the book itself…anyhow.

Bernadette is having her fair share of hard times, more than most of us could handle at one time. Often while reading when I felt like I might cry because of Bernie’s pain and emotional suffering, and there were times when I was laughing at her antics. She truly was a women on the edge of rational thinking. Her life seemed to be crumbling down around her, but she had a wall of support build up around her in form of her best friend, Denise, her mother and two of her neighbors, all of whom had words of help and wisdom but also demonstrated to Bernice that she was not the only one with hard times and pain in their life. At times even her soon-to-be ex-husband brought words of wisdom that ultimately played into Bernice’s healing process.

I will say, there were moments I thought the Bernie was a bit over the top – especially when she jumped the counter at a cosmetic station in the mall, but it was this over-the-topness that brought most of the entertainment of the book. For an ebook that I got free at Amazon.com, I was very impressed with this read. It was heartfelt, funny, sad and contained just enough courage and hope to make you believe in second chances at life.

(In addition to “Bernice Matice,” I found myself continually singing, “don’t go chasing waterfalls…” while reading, which is also completely and utterly unrelated…but I guess “chasing rainbows” was close enough for my mind. And NOW I’ve probably sufficiently gotten it stuck in your head…you’re welcome! =) )

Love Virtually – Daniel Glattauer

Love VirtuallyLove Virtually by Daniel Glattauer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the world of social networking, a book such as this one is perfect, because it is reality. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard of people meeting up with an old flame via Facebook, or Myspace or a chatroom or whatever. Just today, in fact, I heard a story about a marriage that was broken due to a “friend” on Facebook. Let’s face it, the trap of finding intimacy within the virtual walls of the computer, is real.

So the book – yes, that is my focus, the book. Love Virtually was great! It was funny, and crazy and to be quite honest, it sucks you in within the first 5 e-mails. Yes, the book is filled cover to cover with nothing but e-mails. In the past I have read books like this; completely filled with e-mails and other impersonal type contact, thinking “wow, what a cleaver idea,” only to be left with a bit of an emptiness, because of the lack of character, the lack of description, the lack of a true story. I honestly believe that Daniel Glattauer has wiped these other books completely off the table and replaced them with what they should have been. The way that Daniel Glattauer makes up for the “lack” that I have just mentioned – he addresses it head on. The fact that these characters are faceless, two-dimensional beings is a driving point in the book. It is mentioned countless times, maybe in even every single chapter. The fact that these characters (Emmi and Leo, by the way) are abstract is something even they are aware of.

You only get to know the characters because they choose to let you in. Even then, the revelations seem so minor in comparison to their intoxication with each other, even when they are bickering and even fighting back and forth, it all seems like a sort of foreplay.

There were times that I was extremely frustrated with Emmi. I mean, she is so sure of her perfect life, it’s as if she wanted to portray (at times) that she was not nearly as invested in the relationship as Leo, because she pretty much already HAS a perfect life. Then she would throw temper tantrums, get jealous, etc., only to come crawling back apologizing or whining because he wasn’t talking to her. So yeah, she could be a little annoying. But Leo wasn’t without his baggage. A little wine, and he was off comparing Emmi with Marlene, the one thing Emmi would truly have to complain about, yet never did.

Anyhow, this completely obsessive relationship based solely on e-mail contact spirals and dips and dives and intensifies all the way to the very end…It’s not edge of your seat drama, but you won’t be able to put the book down until you get to the last page regardless.
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Call Me Irresistible – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Call Me IrresistibleCall Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:

Meg Koranda flies to Wynette, TX to be the Maid of Honor in her best friend, Lucy’s, wedding only to find out that Lucy is having doubts about the whole thing. After helping her realize that Lucy was getting ready to make a grand mistake which resulting in her leaving her groom, Ted waiting at the alter, Meg becomes the most hated person in town. Unfortunately, being bankrupt and cut off by her family, Meg is stuck. She is left to stick it out and make what she can of herself in Wynette until she can get her feet back under her and a little money in her pocket. That is until she gets all tangled up with the town’s need to build a new, environmentally sound golf course, a project that Wynette’s towns people are counting on to bring the prosperity to their dying city. This also results in Meg getting all tangled up with the towns perfect citizen and mayor, AND her best friends dumped fiancé, Ted Beaudine.

Review:

As always, Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes the perfectly sizzling romance, which includes the rich, famous and perfect. Honestly, every single time I pick up one of her novels I always think, “I don’t care about the rich and famous, and I don’t really want to be reading a romance novel about them,” and every single time she sucks me in. I think it’s the fact that these perfect people end up not being so perfect, they have flaws, defaults, make mistakes and act stupid. Never mind the fact that Susan Elizabeth Phillips has a tendency to cause you to laugh out loud at least once in every book.

I always fall in love with the characters, and really enjoy seeing them return in other novels as well, but this time I was a little bit annoyed with Meg. She was perfectly sassy and had lots of attitude and determination, but I absolutely hated how she always made herself the scapegoat, throwing herself under the bus every chance she got. I was thinking that this was a character flaw that she would eventually stand up against in the end, but no – even in one of the final scenes she stands up and declares how everything was her fault and making up excuses. Ted was also a little but oblivious to everything Meg was going through. He acted like he knew, especially when he visited Meg’s parents, but Meg was harassed non-stop throughout the entire book. She was getting it from the left and right, and even though she did act as a buffer, protecting Ted from what was going on, all he would have had to do was open his eyes and pay attention.

I absolutely looooved the very last scene of the book – of which I’m not telling you about – it made the perfect ending!

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Yours for the Taking – Robin Kaye

Yours for the Taking by Robin Kaye
Genre: Adult Romance
Form: Book (ARC)

Summary:
Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks wasn’t easy for Gina and her family.  Her mother did everything she possibly could to make ends meet while her father was off in some drug haze, but it was all for naught as they still ended up losing everything in the end.  Gina is bound and determined not to let that happen to her or her sister.  It is this driving force that causes her to accept an offer of a convenience marriage to Ben.  A marriage where they both win in the end; he does not lose an inheritance that his grandfather has continually dangled over his head, and she gets enough money to make sure she and her sister can live comfortably and debt free in houses of their own.  This is not a decision that she makes lightly, but the deal is too good to pass up, especially since there is no danger of it turning in to something more.  Ben is gay after all….isn’t he?
 
Review:
Yours for the Taking is a fun, entertaining, witty ride of a book.  As it is with most books for me, characters are everything, and Robin Kaye has created two entertaining characters, to say the least.  I love Ben, but most of all I love his transformation from a metrosexual art dealer into a rough outdoorsy cowboy.  He is super sexy in both roles, and is obviously hard to resist.  Gina is a very cute little Latina that you can almost see running from one side of the room to the other, tossing her hands up in the air on a tirade.  Their chemistry throughout the book is hot!
 
The story line is perfect.  The constant bickering and making up is entertaining while the two fight for control of their lives and what they have known they have always wanted.  Two wildly different people have collided and eventually create the perfect couple.

All That is True – Jackie Lee Miles

All That's TrueAll That’s True by Jackie Lee Miles
Form:  Book (ARC)
Genre: Adult or Young Adult Ficiton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary
Andi is a privileged teenager.  He lives in a rich neighborhood, can pretty much stay on top of the fashion world and any activity is within her reach.  However, life isn’t dealing her an easy hand. Her brother, Alex, recently died.  Her and her best friend, Bridget, have discovered that her dad and Bridget’s step-mother are having an affair.  Her mother is an alcoholic and constantly dancing on the edge.  Couple all of that with the fact that she’s a typical young teenager who is just trying to discover who she is and how her life is going to turn out – it seems as though her life is a complete mess.

Through many friends and relatives and most of all herself, Andi discovers everything she needs to move forward and not only live life, but how to do it and be happy as well.

Review
All That’s True captivates you from the first page!  The book reads almost as a journal as Andi takes you on a journey of a year of her life, probably the hardest time she has ever had to go through.  She narrates on everything from her troubles with her father and his affair, her mother’s alcohol problems, all the way to her latest boy craze, or future husband.  Andi is just a typical thirteen year old girl, and all she really wants is live a normal life.

There were many times throughout the book I felt really bad for Andi.  She tried so hard to do the right thing, and do whatever she could to help out in every situation.  Because there was so much going on in her home life, it seemed like Andi was left to figure things out on her own a lot of the time.  Andi is genuinely a good person through and through.  She wants to do what she can to make things the easiest on everyone, which sometimes makes things the hardest for her.  Through out this year she learns that life does not always give you what you want or expect, but given the choices you make and how you choose to react to it, you can make the best of all situations.

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