Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step...

In 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, two African-American maids and one white Junior League socialite—seemingly as different from one another as can be, will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating withing the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes line are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three memorable women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

The book was definitely AMAZING! I listened to the audiobook and the Narrators were wonderful. They captured the essence of each woman so well. Telling stories of black women working for white families in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960's was definitely taking a big risk. It opened my eyes to conditions there and then and also the few stories of the good things that started to happen as a result of the book -- fictional or not -- were hopeful. I wanted to read (listen to) this book before the movie comes out in August and I am so glad I did. The characters crept into my heart and have remained there. I really liked Abeline, Winnie & Skeeter as well as Miss Celia. They were all so strong in their own ways. I don't want to give anything away, but I must say I was a little surprised at the ending. If you haven't read this book, you should.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Awaken the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney

Awaken the Highland Warrior (Connor Clan, #1)Awaken the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A man from another time...

Faelan is from an ancient clan of Scottish Highland warriors, charged with shielding humanity from demonic forces. Betrayed and locked in a time vault, he has been sleeping for nearly two centuries when spunky historian Bree Kirkland inadvertently wakes him. She's more fearsome than the demon trying to kill him, and if he's not careful, she'll uncover the secrets his clan has bled and died to protect...

Could be the treasure she's been seeking all her life...

When Bree inherits an old treasure map, she discovers a warrior buried in her backyard. But the warrior isn't dead. Bree shocks Faelan with her modern dress and her boldness, and he infuriates Bree every time he tries to protect her.

With demons suddenly on the move, Bree discovers that Faelan's duty as protector is in his blood, and that her part in this fight was destined before she was born. But nothing is ever what it seems...

Anita Clenney, the author of this book, asked me to read and review it and I am honored to do so. I really enjoy reading time travel books mainly because of the reactions of the unsuspecting (in most cases) time traveler to the time to which he/she has been transported. This book did not disappoint in that regard. As a bonus, in this book you get the exciting warriors vs. demons aspect. Faelan is trapped in a time vault for 150 years and released by Bree, an adventurous Civil War expert. While each is trying to figure out whether the other is a good guy or a bad guy, they fall in love -- of course -- and together they set out to destroy Faelan's assigned demon and save the world. This book is well-written and exciting. There is a little sex but it doesn't distract you from the story. There's the whole family bonding together to fight the enemy (which I love) and they are Scottish -- what can I say? On a personal note, I realized when reading this book that when I started reading novels again, especially ones with a strong female character, that I pictured myself as that young, strong, adventurous woman. Now that doesn't quite fit -- I'm picturing myself as the mother in this book. That is very amusing to me for some reason. This book is the first in a series, so watch for the others soon. There were some tiny loose threads left hanging in this book that I'm interested to see woven in. I'm looking forward to reading more.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dreams Unleashed by Linda Hawley

Dreams Unleashed (The Prophecies)Dreams Unleashed by Linda Hawley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from the author and read it on Kindle for the PC. I had never used Kindle for the PC before and I was a little worried about losing my place when my mouse took off on its own, but it was okay. For the first third of the book, I had to really concentrate to keep straight whether I was in the present, past or a dream. Eventually I got all the threads on the right needles and then the book started to get exciting. The action just kept accelerating right up to the end! Or, should I say "up to the end of this book" because it's part of a trilogy and definitely leads you right in to the next in the series. The concept of putting yourself in another place through a dream was wild, but believable for me. I started clicking through all sorts of possibilities in my head as I was reading. I also liked that the author included current happenings, as close as a couple of months ago, to add to the perception of reality. Tagging people through their driver's license was disturbing, but it gave me something to think about. As I have said before in my reviews, I like time travel. This was a different kind of time travel because you aren't stuck in one place -- unless that happens further on in the series -- but the reader feels that Ann was really in those other places for a time. It was a very interesting book based on a great concept with current events and I can't wait for the next volume to see what happens!!!

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an epic tale! I did really like it, but I don't think I would have liked it as much if I had actually read the book. Listening to it was much better because it took so long and so many words to go from one scene to the next. Not having the book on hand, I never knew how much of the book was left! It seemed to go on and on...and after a while I just wanted to know what happened in the end. Did she ever get back to Mr. Rochester? What had happened at Thornfield after she left? Would she really go to India with Sinjun? All these questions went on in my mind while she was describing EVERYTHING. I just wanted her to go already -- stop thinking and DO something. Anyway, I guess that's what I was supposed to be thinking. It was a great listen! I'm very glad I got the chance to finally experience this novel. I find that I'm liking Victorian literature much more than I ever thought I would. If you haven't read Jane Eyre, you should give it a listen. I hightly recommend it.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hearts Through Time by Marie Higgins

Hearts Through TimeHearts Through Time by Marie Higgins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A love story that transcends time . . .

When a woman claiming to be a ghost from 1912 appears in Nick Marshal¹s office and begs for help in solving her murder, he thinks he has lost his mind. A scandal that rocked Hollywood almost destroyed his law practice, so he doesn¹t need any more fireworks as he rebuilds his life. Still, he is intrigued by Abigail Carlisle¹s plea, and he needs clients, even if this one insists she¹s dead. The more secrets Nick uncovers, the deeper he falls for the beautiful ghost.

Abigail believes Nick is her heart¹s true desire, but how can happily-ever-after happen when she¹s already dead? The more time she spends with him, the more real she becomes, until Nick can finally touch her.

In a strange turn of events, Nick is suddenly whisked back to 1912, two weeks before Abby¹s murder, but she doesn¹t remember him. When he attempts to win her over so he can save her from a tragic destiny, Abby thinks Nick is courting her for her inheritance. But even if he can rescue her and make her trust him again, how can they be together forever?

My favorite genre is "time travel" and this novel didn't disappoint. It is the story of a twentieth century lawyer, Nick Marshall, who meets the love of his life -- but she's a ghost. She was told by her grandmother in 1912 that she would meet a man with the initials "N.M." who would help her. Nick investigates her case in the twentieth century and as he is doing so, he falls in love with her. After he returns a vital piece of evidence to her, she disappears and he travels back to 1912. Believe me, the things I've told you won't give the plot away. There are plenty of things to discover in this case. Some of them you can figure out, some are unexpected twists. The novel moved along very easily. Although I am very happy in the present, this novel made it seem possible to travel between times. It was a very clean romance, a little sappy at times, but not too much. There were plenty of characters to think about and they all had their little quirks and unique personalities. I won this book on the Leprechaun Hop & Giveaway Tour and I'm really glad I did.

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Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott

Fairer than Morning (A Saddler's Legacy Novel)Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor-until she meets a runaway apprentice who knows what a truly noble man is.

In 1826, Ann Miller travels to Pittsburgh with her widowed father and two young sisters, only to find that a mysterious man has pursued them all the way from Ohio. Is Ann's father just a circuit minister, or is he hiding something that may endanger them all?

Will Hanby indentures with a Pittsburgh saddler maker, only to discover that his master is a cold-hearted tyrant. After years of abuse, Will becomes a prisoner of his own mind. But then lovely Ann Miller comes to stay next door and her compassion lights a long-dark part of Will's soul. His renewed courage puts his life in jeopardy as he begins to assist fugitive slaves.

Will's murderous master and Ann's questions about her family may keep both of them bound in the shadows forever. Or will they find freedom-together?

This is a debut romance from Rosslyn Elliott and the first in a series. The story begins in the early 1820's in the area where Ohio and Pennsylvania meet. It follows a young girl growing up on her father's farm paralleled by the life of a young man who is an indentured apprentice to a saddler near Pittsburgh. The girl's father is also a saddler by trade as well as a circuit minister. There's plenty of history woven through this tale including the beginnings of the Underground Railroad. It is labeled a "romance" but there is substance here. Faith in God in very trying times comes through and the conversion of the young man is very uplifting. I would recommend this novel to any historical fiction fan -- the characters are real people as indicated in the Afterword. Don't be put off by the "romance" genre, there's plenty of action and adventure and, in my opinion, it is very well-written.

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