Sunday, April 17, 2011
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Happy Ever After is Nora Roberts's fourth book in the Bride Quartet. It ties the remaining pieces of the quartet together (which also included Vision in White, Bed of Roses, and Savor the Moment).
Parker Brown, of the Connecticut Browns, has always known her place in life. She's the brains. She's the planner. She's the do-er. Many people would call her a robot. She knows she's just efficient.
Then in walks Malcolm Kavanaugh. Green eyes and black hair, Mal is laid back and enjoys to go with the flow, when he's not jumping off buildings in a single bound. The former stunt man owns his own auto shop now and is beginning to set down roots.
When the two personalities collide sparks fly (and a little bit of fur). But what happens when Parker let's her walls down and Mal into her heart? Can the practical learn to be emotional?
View all my reviews
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Book: The Three Fates
Author: Nora Roberts
Bookshelves: 2011, fiction, Ireland, Nora Roberts, NYC, Prague, romance, USA
Begun: March 16, 2011
Finished: March 22, 2011
Media Type: audiobook (downloaded from library online catalog and listened to on iPod Touch)
Setting: Ireland, New York City (USA), Prague (Budapest)
Characters: Malachi Sullican, Dr. Tia Marsh, Gideon Sullivan, Cleopatra “Cleo” Toliver, Rebecca “Becca” Sullivan, Jack Burdett, Anita Gay
Review: The Three Fates is another one of Nora Roberts triumphs. The plot revolves around three siblings (Irish siblings of course, as Ms. Roberts loves her some Ireland!) who are all descendants of a thief. Not just any thief. This thief stole a small silver statue off the Lusitania just as it was sinking (during WWI in 1918) off the coast of Ireland. The thief/grandfather was saved by Irish fisherman (as many of the survivors of the Lusitania were) and nursed back to health by a local family. Eventually, he fell in love with the daughter of the family, married her, and stayed in Ireland.
Now, Malachi, Gideon, and Rebecca Sullivan are determined to bring home the Three Fates (the name for the three sister statues - one was which was "stolen" by their grandfather). But they don't want the riches or to sell them, they are doing it for family honor.
Malachi is the first to set off in search of the Three Fates when he goes looking for Dr. Tia Marsh, an expert in Greek mythology. He believes that Dr. Marsh will be able to help him recover the fate that Malachi lost to a ruthless and unscrupulous antiques dealer named Anita Gay.
Following in his big brother's footsteps, Gideon heads off to Prague to run down another lead for the second fate where he comes across exotic dancer Cloe Toliver. Toliver's family was reputed to have the second fate and Gideon wants some information from the brash brunette who seems to have the street credit to back up her fire and ice attitude.
Sick of waiting at home in their coast town in Ireland, Rebecca (Becca) wants to travel the world like her brothers have been. Her chance comes when one of the ruthless Anita Gay's acquaintances comes to look for her. It turns out that Jack Burdett loves to collect antiques (even though he owns one of the most high tech security companies in the world) and that he hates being used by people (which is what Anita Gay was doing - milking him for any information he might have on Tia Marsh or the Three Fates). Well, wouldn't you know it? Burdett actually knows more than he thought he did about the Fates.
So from three unlikely sources comes the information to solve the puzzle on the Three Fates. Sprinkle love, humor, intrigue, action and the machinations of a true villain (read: Anita Gay), Roberts writes another great novel!
Recommended by: my friends, Erin and Tiffany V.
Recommend to: Nora Roberts Fans
Friday, April 8, 2011
Author: Alex Flinn
Bookshelves: 2011, fantasy, fiction, for teens, New York City, New York City, paranormal romance, romance, USA
Begun: March 15, 2011
Finished: March 17, 2011
Media Type: paperback (larger sized)
Setting: present day New York City, present day upstate New York
Characters: Linda "Lindy" Owens, Kyle Kingsbury (aka Adrian), Will Fratalli, The Witch (aka Kendra Hilfert), Magda, Rob Kingsbury
Review: I picked up Beastly because the movie was being released and I decided that I should read the book (at the time I really, really wanted to see the movie too – since reading the book, I think I will wait for the DVD to come out and then go get it for free at the library). The story is … well the plot, at least, in its most basic form, is a good thing. Think: an updated Beauty and Beast.
And what little girl didn’t love the story behind the Disney classic.
In this reworking of the fairytale, we open the book to an online chatroom transcript where the moderator’s name is Mr. Anderson (all I could think was Hugo Weaving playing Agent Smith from The Matrix asking Keanu Reeves (Neo/Mr. Anderson) saying “You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability... It is the sound of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Anderson...”). Maybe others missed it but “Mr. Anderson,” is a not so cleaverly veiled reference to Hans Christian Anderson who authored many (if not most) of the fairytales that are still so popular today! In the chatroom we meet the little mermaid, a bear, and the frog (the prince who was turned into a frog) … and a beast who proceeds to tell us his story.
Kyle Kingsbury was the most popular person at his private prep school. But inside, he’s kind of messed up. His mother left his father and him without, really, any good reason when he was pretty young. His father, Rob Kingsbury is a self-loving and beauty obsessed anchorman. He doesn’t have that much time for Kyle other than to make sure he’s not getting into that much trouble.
Kyle, who is a shoe in for Prom King, plays a trick on the goth chick in his English class, Kendra Hilfert, by asking her to the dance even though Kyle is actually taking the “cool girl,” who becomes ticked at Kyle for getting her a “simple, common” white rose for her corsage instead of the exotic orchid she wanted. When they get to the dance, Kyle hands the offending rose to a “scholarship” girl who is manning the ticket desk. This simple act of making the girl’s day with the flower is the only thing that saves him from what is about to happen.
When Kendra realizes that Kyle has an ugly heart as she suspects and has been playing her for a fool, she reveals that she is actually a beautiful witch. She transforms Kyle into a beastly visage to match his heart. But, because he was kind to the “scholarship girl,” the Witch gives Kyle a chance to redeem himself. He is given two years to get someone to fall in love him.
He figures that this will never happen. He thinks he’s gross because he’s covered with fur, disfigured, and has claws. He’s basically an amalgamation of a bear, dog, man and gorilla. When the doctors can’t cure him of his physical deformities, his father gets him a five story apartment away from his apartment in Manhattan. Kyle realizes that his father can’t stand to look at him and has shunted him out of his life. Magda, the family’s maid, goes with him and his father pays for a blind tutor to become his companion and teacher.
Slowly over the course of the first year, Kyle comes out of his self imposed prison, changes his name from Kyle (which means “handsome”) to Adrian (which means “the dark one”), and builds a greenhouse where he begins to grow roses of all sizes, colors and types. One night, he catches a robber who broke into the greenhouse intent on stealing things in the house for drug money. The robber bargains his daughter for payment (of not being turned over to the authorities). His daughter is Linda (“Lindy) Owens who it is revealed is the “scholarship girl” from the dance.
Could she be the girl to break the curse? How could anyone see though the horrific exterior to see what’s within Adrian’s heart? And is that heart worth seeing?
To break the curse, make Lindy love him, and return to his “normal” life, Kyle/Adrian only got months left …
- ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
- VOYA Editor’s Choice
- IRA/CBC Young Adults’ Choice
- New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
- Texas Lone Star Reading List
- Detroit Public Library Author Day Award
- Utah Beehive Award Master List
- Missouri Gateway Award Master List
- Volunteer State Book Award Master List
- Nevada Young Readers Award Master List
- South Dakota Young Adult Book Award Master List
- New Hampshire Isinglass Award Master List
- Woozles (Canada) Teen Battle of the Books list
Recommended by: myself after seeing a commercial for the movie which was released in Feb. 2011
Recommend to: Twilight saga fans, fans of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Kate U. (my friend)
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Book: The Tiger’s Curse
Author: Colleen Houck
Bookshelves: 2011, curse, fantasy, fiction, India, romance, Oregon, paranormal romance, tiger, USA, were-creature
Begun: March 11, 2011
Finished: March 14, 2011
Media Type: hardcover
Setting: 17th century India, present day Oregon (USA), and present day India
Characters: Kelsey Hayes, Prince Dhiren (Ren), Mr. Kadam, Indian goddess Durga,
Review: When I started reading Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck, I was pretty sure it was going to be ... well ... boring. I had seen the book in the hands of a couple of my students and in the front section of the Barnes and Noble I frequent, but I wasn't sold on the book.
I had, also, heard that this was originally published online as a free book (or was it as a Podcast? I honestly don't remember).
Anyways, I started reading it and thought: Oh damn, it's set in Oregon. This is going to be another Twilight-esque knock off. Well, come to find out, Houck was inspired by Twilight to the point that she began writing this series of books. And unfortunately, the main female and male characters will remind you WHOLE HEARTEDLY of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. (And I, personally, think the world has had enough of these characters and their incarnations!!!)
I was pleasantly surprised when I got into the story. The writing is mediocre (at best) but Colleen Houck does a pretty good job of weaving a lot of information (there is soooooooo much info dumping) into the plot. The problem for me was that the writing off set the whole "good plot" she had going on.
The story goes like this: Kelsey lost her parents a while back to an accident. She's in foster care. To pay for junior college in the fall, she goes to a temp agency (she's not yet 18 ... how many temp agencies take 17 year olds?) to get a job for the summer. They send her out to a circus that is going through town who needs help (her foster parents don't even bat an eye at the fact that the circus expects her to sleep there for the two weeks she'll be working with them). Slowly, she develops a bond with the white tiger in the circus. A man, Mr. Kadam, comes and buys the tiger and wants to take him back to a nature preserve in India. He wants Kelsey to help him. Kelsey agrees to fly half way around the world ... and, apparently, that too is ok with her foster parents because they let her go.
Surprise of surprises, Kelsey finds out that her white tiger buddy is really a 17th century Indian prince, Dhiren, who had a curse placed upon him (and his brother). Mayhem ... long long drawn out mayhem ... and dialog written with a tin ear (shame on you Houck ... ensues. Houck tried to teach us about the Indian goddess Durga but the writing and the repeated usage of the main characters names in the dialog (i.e. “Mr. Kadam, do you think … (next line) “No Kelsey, …” (next line) “But, Mr. Kadam …”) take away from the plot.
There is a cliff hanger at the end which prompts readers to get the second book.
Will I read it? Probably with the caveat that I understand this is not a novel of epic/mythic proportions, that this is just a book to pass some time with ... not to call "literature."
Awards: Next Generation Indie Book Awards (2010)
Recommend to: Twilight series fans