Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Dream Trilogy – Nora Roberts

Hello Readers!
I just finished The Dream Trilogy by Nora Roberts. I was planning on writing a review for each after I finished, but that didn’t happen because I couldn’t stop myself from just picking up and starting the next book. I’ve realized that I have no self control when it comes to books. So instead, I’m going to review all three as individual books but in the same post because they’re about three different people but their stories intertwine.

Daring to Dream – Book One
Summary:
Margo, Kate and Laura were brought up like sisters amidst the peerless grandeur of Templeton House. But it was Margo whose dreams first took her far away…
Margo Sullivan had everything a young woman could ask for. But while growing up along the rocky cliffs of Monterey, she couldn’t help but dream of bigger things. The daughter of the Templetons’ stern Irish housekeeper, Margo had been treated like a member of the family. Deep down, she knew that money could not buy the thing she craved most-her mother’s acceptance.
Maybe things would be different if she could be sweet like Laura, or had Kate’s shrewd head for business. But all Margo knew how to do was be Margo, and that meant doing things her own way-no matter what the consequences…

Review:
Margo Sullivan is a strong and outgoing girl. She doesn’t take anyone’s shit, even when she gets herself into a mess. She’s always looking for thrills, being reckless and doing whatever her heart desires. I think that’s what I liked so much about her. I would love to have some of her spontaneity. This books starts when Margo’s perfect life starts to fall apart. She left her safety of the Templeton House when she was eighteen. She always had a fire to make her goals happen. She’s confident in herself and her choices. She is comfortable with who she is. I absolutely loved Margo’s passion. Especially when she finds love.
So Margo’s life has fallen apart. She’s lost almost all of her sources of income. So she comes home to the Templeton House to attempt to get her life together. This is when she run’s into Josh again. Laura is Margo’s best friend and she’s also Josh’s sister. Taking place of the family lawyer when Margo ends up needing some help, the two start to figure out their love for the other. The two are quite the couple. It’s obvious that they we’re meant for each other. They have a few common characteristics including some that clash, but for the most part they compliment the other. I loved being able to experience their story.
Nora Roberts wrote this beautifully. I fell so easily into this story and couldn’t get out until I’d experienced every emotion on the scale. The Dream Trilogy was written in third person, which I enjoyed. I liked being able to see the whole story from more than one point of view. We got to see each relationship developing from a few different perspectives. This book was an excellent opener to The Dream Trilogy.

Holding the Dream – Book Two
Summary:
Surrounded by the Sweeping cliffs and beauty of Big Sur, Kate Powell treasured her life at Templton House…and the family who raised her like one of their own. Although Kate lacked Margo’s beauty and Laura’s elegance, she knew she has something they would never possess-a shrewd head for business. Driven by ambition, Kate measured her life’s success with each soaring promotion. But now, faced with professional impropriety, Kate is forced to look deep within herself-only to find something missing in her life…and in her heart.

Review:
I liked Margo’s story better than Kate’s, and I believe there’s one reason for that. But I’ll start with what I liked first. So Kate is the one that does everything right; goes to college, gets a degree, returns to town and works her little butt off. She gets a job at an accounting firm that didn’t belong to the Templetons. Kate’s goal in this book is to be successful, to hopefully become a partner and make her adoptive parents proud. Kate receives news that she struggles with involving her past and maybe affecting her future.
Kate’s life is starting to collapse a bit when she becomes acquainted with Byron De Witt. I think what I loved most about this couple is how hard they tried to deny their affection and attraction toward one another. It was seriously funny to follow their thoughts. They were both so stubborn and as the book progressed Byron’s stubbornness was being used for another goal. He started pursuing Kate. I think the two had a very healthy relationship. Byron helped Kate get her health in order along with the rest of her life. They both just have such a positive impact on the other. They never let anything get bottled up, neither had a problem yelling as much as they felt necessary when there was a problem.
Now, what I didn’t like about this book and why I liked Margo’s story better. I previously mentioned that Byron helped Kate get healthy again. She was seriously neglecting her body and her all around well being. She wasn’t eating right and she was drinking so much coffee it pretty much burned a hole in her stomach. She just all around wasn’t taking care of herself. This really upset me because when it seemed like her life was falling apart around her keeping herself together and actually taking care of herself were her last focus. She was neglecting herself because she felt like she’d let the people in her life down. I hate that she didn’t choose to take care of herself, but I’m glad Byron came into her life.

Finding the Dream – Book Three
Summary:
Laura Templeton found out the hard way that nothing in life is guaranteed. The daughter of a wealthy hotelier, she has always known comfort, privilege, and security. But by the age of thirty, her storybook marriage had been destroyed by her husband’s infidelity. Laura’s divorce left her both emotionally and financially devastated-but determined to rebuild her life without the Templeton fortune Laura has always define herself as a wife, a daughter, or a mother. Now she much finally discover Laura the woman…

Review:
Laura’s story was my favorite. We read about what’s going on with Laura through all the three stories. So when it’s Laura’s turn for love we’ve already learned about all of her troubles, she’s given herself time to heal. She’s also working on putting her life back together. Laura was my favorite for a few reasons. I think her struggles were the most difficult to handle and she never once asked for help or let her weakness show. Regardless of all the hurt she is put through, she holds her head high and does the right thing for herself and her two girls.
Insert brother’s troublesome childhood friend, Michael. He really makes an impact in Laura’s life. At first Laura is unsure how to handle Michael being around all the time. When she observes the positive affect he has on her girls she starts to let him in. When the relationship between Laura and Michael becomes more of a flirtation we start to see Laura discover herself in a new way. I really enjoyed seeing her grow into a more confident woman. Michael and Laura’s relationship is complicated for most of the book. They both struggle with events from their pasts. There are quite a few bumps for the couple to go through before finally accepting that they’re right for one another. I think I liked their relationship the best because it was the most unexpected match. I loved following the ups and downs of their story.

These three entangled stories were all wonderful, as expected from Nora Roberts. Each book is about one woman finding herself and the love of their life, along with strengthening the relationship between the three women. These girls are as close as sisters and even though Laura, Kate and Margo each have their own trials to deal with through out these pages they aren’t alone of any of it. I was a bit envious of the closeness between these three women. There isn’t anything one wouldn’t do for the others. They support one another with every decision they each make. Margo, Kate, and Laura end up creating something beautiful together. Each woman cares for this something in a very personal way and it was wonderful to follow the sisters in their endeavor. The three are all strong, beautiful, smart women that don’t let anything stop them.
There was one aspect of this trilogy that I wasn’t a huge fan of. I noticed this happening in each book and I wanted to shake each girl when I saw it coming from them. Kate, Margo, and Laura all seem to have a really bad habit of comparing themselves to the others. I think this is ridiculously unfair to them. Each of these women are their own independent person and while they have some similar qualities along with being so integrated in each others lives, it’s wrong. To compare the outgoing Margo who is the queen of not thinking things through to Kate who’s never done anything without planning it’ll all before even bringing the idea up. And to compare Laura’s family oriented nature to Kate’s determination to succeed with her career is just unfair. Each woman has such different goals and views of life and I hated reading about them comparing themselves to their sisters.
Overall, this might be one of my favorite trilogy’s written by Nora Roberts. It’s full of romantic love, family bonding, doing the right thing, and sticking to your goals. I would suggest this to anyone that likes romance, or Nora Roberts.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.


The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Summary:
By her brother’s graveside, Leisel Meminger’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Leisel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Leisel’s family hides a
new in their basement, Leisel’s world is both opened up and closed down.
Insuperbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak had given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Review:
I just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I’ve put off reading this book for so freaking long. Every time I went to the bookstore I would pick up this book, read the description, then put it down. It’s always sounded interesting to me, but not enough for me to want to buy it. Thanks to my dad I had gift cards to buy more books and I figured why not read it before the movie comes out.
When I started The Book Thief I didn’t think I was going to like it. It took me a couple chapters to realize that the narrator of this book is Death. I was a bit confused but ended up absolutely loving it. This is such a unique point of view. I think Zusak did a fantastic job writing as Death, such a complex, difficult character. He portrayed Death as someone who has been watching over the human race for so long that he’s losing hope. Until he tells us the story of the book thief, Leisel. I definitely think Death let a part of him care about Leisel and I don’t blame him because I care about her too.
Leisel Meminger is an amazing character. She get’s adopted by Hans and Rosa Hubermann during World War II. She’s still coping with the death of her younger brother and the abandonment of her mother. With the help of Hans and Rosa she starts to get over her past and create a new life. The three become a family. Hans and Leisle spend most of their time together practicing reading and writing, a skill Leisel didn’t have before living with the Hubermann’s. Leisel later shares this connection with Max, a Jewish man that spends some time hiding in the Hubermann’s basement. The two become as close as brother and sister, bonding over mutual struggles and losses. Then there’s Rudy. The kid from next door that spends his time trying to gt Liesel to give him a kiss. Rudy is Leisel’s best friend. He’s spontaneous and outgoing, caring and genuine. He’s someone I’d love to be my best friend. Leisel forms so many relationships when she comes to live with Hans and Rosa. Regardless of everything she’s been through she’s such an open-hearted person. She’ll give anyone a chance and for the most part tries to do the right thing.
There’s a few things I’d like to mention about how this book was written. I’ve already said that Death is the narrator of this story, but the way he tells this was very interesting. The story jumps around a bit, but no so much that it becomes annoying. I generally don’t like books that are all over the place. The Book Thief tells more than just Leisel’s story. While her story is the main focus, we also get to hear about the lives of the other characters as well. I just feel like this story was so involved and detailed that it just sucked me in and spit me out when it was over.
Although this book didn’t have the normal happy ending, I’m very glad I finally bought this book and invested more emotions in characters that don’t actually exist. I’d definitely suggest this book to any reader that likes books with a historical aspect. To readers that like strong female lead. To readers that like to make sure they read the book before the movie comes out. Even if you don’t think you’ll like this book, I think you should give it a try.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.


The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

Goodreads Summary:He thinks she’s an annoying know-it-all…

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

She thinks he’s just plain mad…

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn’t matter. She doesn’t care that his leg is less than perfect, it’s his personality she can’t abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless…

I love Julia Quinn. Her books always, without out fail, make me laugh out loud even if I’m out somewhere public causing everyone to stare at me like I’m a lunatic. She uses the perfect mix of humor and sappy that I really can’t get enough of. I love the relationships between her characters. They banter and they fight and they love each other. It’s perfect. It never seems unrealistic. Sisters act exactly as my sisters and I act. Friends act just like Amanda and I are together. I always want to be best friends with the heroine and the hero always makes me swoon (well, he would if I knew how to swoon). I’ve read every one of her books and always await the next with as much patience as I can manage when books are involved. Her newest book (my Christmas present from Amanda) did not disappoint me.
I’ll begin by explaining the duel which is also explained in the other two books of the series. Approximately three years before the events of this book, Hugh, Sarah’s cousin Daniel, and a couple of their friends were drunkenly playing cards. Hugh accused Daniel of cheating, they argued, and Hugh challenged him to a duel. Still slightly drunk at dawn they meet and are still determined to go through with it. Neither actually wanted to shoot the other and were fully expected to just shoot past the others shoulder and be done with it. Except Hugh accidentally shoots Daniel in the shoulder. And Daniel accidentally shoots him in the legging, hitting an artery and almost killing him. Daniel’s forced to leave the country by Hugh’s father threatening to kill him until Hugh manages to convince his father to back off. Because of this, Sarah hates Hugh for causing her family so much pain.
I’ll start with Lady Sarah Pleinsworth. She knows how to act like a lady when she needs to, but when she’s with her friends or her family she’s dramatic, sarcastic and tends to exaggerate. I hadn’t been entirely sure how much I liked her at the beginning of the book. Then she met Hugh and my opinion did a complete 180. He really brings out the worst in her and vice versa. The conversations that ensue are nothing short of hilarious. They’re forced together for a few weeks for Sarah’s two cousins’ weddings. After spending time with him, Sarah begins to realize he isn’t the complete asshole she thought he was. He’s actually a decent person. And has nice eyes. And he’s very handsome. And Sarah is absolutely horrified that she’s thinking any of this purely because it’s Hugh and she’s supposed to hate him.
After the duel, Hugh becomes crippled and struggles to walk even with a cane. Between the duel and his disability, he holds an awkward place in society; he indirectly forced a popular member of the aristocracy to flee the country, it’s unlikely anyone would be willing to marry a cripple, and he can’t dance or hunt or do much of anything physical. Hugh feels terrible that he couldn’t keep his father from trying to kill Daniel and feels responsible for everything that occurred because of the duel, even the parts that weren’t his fault. He doesn’t want to hate Sarah, but he thinks she’s dramatic and silly and she was really quite a bitch when they first met. Until he realizes he’s attracted to her and she’s sort of cute when she’s dramatic and she’s actually pretty clever.
I loved Sarah and Hugh as enemies. I loved Sarah and Hugh as friends. And I love Sarah and Hugh in love. They’re adorable and funny and I just really want to be best friends with them. Hugh just wants to protect her even though he can’t even catch her from falling out of a carriage because of his leg. Sarah just wants to help him and make him happy because she doesn’t see him as a cripple at all.
I loved this book. It had the perfect amount of everything. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance or books that make you laugh. As always, I’d love to hear your own thoughts and feedback.
-Antonia


Lovely, Dark and Deep – Amy McNamara

Summary:
Wren Wells is trying to outrun the accident that killed her boyfriend and wrecked her plans to live a normal life. Instead of going to college, she retreats to her father’s isolated art studio. There, in the remote northern woods of Maine, she meets Cal Owen, a boy who wears his own hurt like a badge. But when their connection threatens Wren’s hard-won isolation, she has to choose: open up her broken heart or join the ghosts who haunt her.

Review:
I bought this book with some christmas gift cards that I have. Lovely, Dark and Deep was a book bought purely because I liked the look of the cover. I read the description, and it said there was an accident and had a mysterious guy so I had to read it. This book was exactly as it’s title describes. These characters I fell in love with are lovely and their stories are dark and deep.
Wren’s story was so sad and the more I found out about her the darker and deeper things got. Poor Wren goes through so much before he goes to live with her father in the quiet isolation. We only get to find out bits and pieces at a time, which definitely added suspense. I really liked Wren. There were some times where I just wanted to smack her and ask her what the hell she was thinking. But there were other times where I just wanted to wrap her up in my arms and tell her that she wasn’t alone, that I knew how she felt. She was really such a sweet girl that had been through more than she should’ve had to.
There were quite a few ups and downs in Lovely, Dark and Deep. Most of them seemed to involve the mysterious Cal Owen. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him at first. Like Wren, I thought he was nice, but I kind of just wanted him to go away. Then I got to know him, and some of what he’d been through and I wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be okay. Cal was really just a genuinely nice guy who’d been through a lot. When the two came together, I personally thought they were perfect. But if you read the book you know they both still have shit they need to sort out with themselves. Wren and Cal are the cutest couple. I think they’re really good for each other. They care so much for one another and want what’s best for the other, but they’re still young and absolutely need to work out some of the kinks.
So, the location of where all this takes place is somewhere I’d LOVE to live, but only for part of the year because I like the warm weather. But the description of where Wren lives just sounds so beautiful. She lives with her dad, which is in northern Maine, and the way that I’ve pictured the snowy woods, the breathetaking cliffs around her house, I would love to be surrounded by that beauty. The description the author gives throughout the book is perfect. I can see everything she’s trying to portray perfectly. The way that McNamara writes when it comes to Wren and her thoughts was just so accurate with some of my own thoughts and feelings. I felt like I could really relate to Wren for the most part. This is something big for me, I need to be able to relate to the main character.
Overall, Lovely, Dark and Deep was a great book. I think any reader that likes young adult romance would love this book. There’s so much more to the story than you’d think when you start. There were several points where I had to put the book down and just say what the fuck just happened. It was suspenseful, intriguing, and entertaining. Everything a girl wants when picking up a book and everyone should read it.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.


Carrie – Stephen King

Summary:
Carrie may be picked on by her classmates, but she has a gift. She can move things with her mind. Doors lock. Candles fall. This is her power and her problem. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offers Carrie a chance to be a normal…until an unexpected cruelty turns her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that no one will ever forget.

Review:
Okay, so my boyfriend bought me this book as one of my Christmas gifts. He likes Stephen King books and movies, and I’d never read anything by him before. It took a couple days for me to actually pick it up and start reading. Once I did, I was intrigued to see where the book was going to go. The first opinion I had about Carrie was that it was very weird. It was written set in the sixties and seventies, so things were a bit different then. The kids Carrie went to school with were cruel and selfish. After I decided it was a weird book I just wanted to know what had happened. Where was this story going? It was one of the most suspenseful books I’ve read. Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I finished.
Something I really liked about Carrie was the way that it was written. It has exerpts from books written, news articles, scientists reports, police reports about the events that took place almost as chapter intro’s. The story was also told from several peoples points of view. This I enjoyed because I was getting the whole story from all of the different angles. I get to read the other character’s storys unfold as well. I also really enjoyed the description. There wasn’t an overbaring amount. King gave me just enough to see everything clearly. Carrie was not a very long book, but it took me longer than expected to finish it. I think it’s because it was such a strange book. It’s not my usual genre of books, but it was good for me to branch out and read new things.
Now we come to Carrie and the rest of the gang. Carrie, the poor girl, is really just a weird, socially awkward girl that happens to be able to move things with her mind. Someone that should not be fucked with. Apparently her classmates didn’t catch onto that. Carrie just wanted to fit in. In comes Carrie’s mother, who is frighteningly religious and very controlling of Carrie’s every move. I think most of the reason Carrie is so strange is because of her mother and how she was raised. Constantly having to watch what you say, or do, or wear, or think to prevent getting beaten and thrown in a closet. I’d be just as screwed up in the head as Carrie. Except she’s telekenetic, so she can fuck shit up. So, Carrie’s classmates are awful to her because shes weird and kids are cruel and terrible. They treat her like shit all the time, at one point throwing tampons at her while in the gym locker room. There is one girl, Sue, who follows the group in the beginning, then grows a consience. Sue was a really genuine character, I just wish it had made a difference. Then there’s Chris. I hate her. She causes every problem with Carrie. Chris is the rich, popular, head bitch kind of girl. Everyone follows her lead becasue they’re supposed to. Because she’s rich girl that gets what she wants. She is just a mean girl.
As a whole, I did really like this book. It was weird and not my usual cup of tea. But I enjoyed it. It was suspensful and exciting and very well written. I would definitely suggest Carrie to anyone who likes books filled with action.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.