July 25, 2010

Review: One Season of Sunshine by Julia London

One Season of Sunshine

On the verge of accepting a marriage proposal, Jane Aaron has lots of unanswered questions about her birth that plague her thoughts. It's now to the point that she risks losing her boyfriend and hurting her adopted family by leaving the life she's always know to find answers in the small Texas town where she was born.

Taking a summer job as nanny for Asher Price, a handsome and rich widow, Jane hardly has time to breathe let alone research her birth. But in between dealing with a bed-wetting five year old and a surly pre-teen Jane feels herself falling for Asher and as she slowly uncovers the truth behind her birth she just might wish she never started looking.

One Season of Sunshine was an excellent read. It's covers some pretty deep topics to be more than just a typical romance book. The children were endearing even with their problems and I was rooting for Jane from the opening chapter. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves contemporary romances.

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July 18, 2010

Review: Unspeakable by Laura Griffin


Elaina McCord’s father practically invented FBI profiling so when Elaina followed in his footsteps she had some pretty big shoes to fill. Plus being a girl in the male dominated field didn't help her chances either. When Elaina finally gets her very first solo case she knows that she's going to have to work extra hard to prove her worth. But in the small beach town of Lito, Texas the local police have the same macho mentality. The only one to trust in Elaina's skills is true-crime writer Troy Stockton and the last thing Elaina needs is a distraction but Troy is hard to resist.

When Elaina finally figures out what the killer is doing no one at the FBI believes her and she's booted off the case. Now she has no choice but to turn to Troy. If she can only figure out if he's using her for the story or his feelings are genuine.

I can't quite put my finger on why but Unspeakable didn't quite live up to the greatness of the other three books by Laura that I've read. Elaina wasn't as likable as her other heroine's and the relationship with Troy just didn't have the heat the other books did. That being said it was still a great read. The killer was always one step ahead and once I knew who it was I could trace the clues back to the very beginning of the book. I recommend Unspeakable for anyone who loves romantic suspense and highly recommend all of Laura's books.

My previous reviews of Laura's books:

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July 16, 2010

Guest Post: Helen of Troy by Margaret George Reviewed by Alexis Bonari

Helen of Troy

Margaret George’s Helen of Troy closely follows the story laid down by the original Iliad. Helen is born the daughter of King Tyndareus and Queen Leda, but her true father is the god Zeus who seduced or raped — we are never sure which—her mother in the form of a swan. As she grows to young adulthood, it becomes clear that Helen is unnaturally beautiful. When her early marriage to Agamemnon lacks passion, she soon falls for the handsome Trojan prince Paris. They run away together, leaving behind her husband, daughter, and her war-hungry brother-in-law. When Agamemnon was chosen as her husband, a pact was made among the other suitors that they would go to war against any man who stole Helen from her husband. Thus, her infidelity started what would become the 20 yearlong Trojan War.

While well written, I only give this book four out of five stars. The reason: Helen of Troy fails to live up to the extremely high standard set by George’s previous novels. Granted, the subject matter she chose to work with was quite difficult to manage. The story presented in the Iliad does little to shed light on Helen’s early life or her personality.

Also, George attempts to make Helen into a likeable, modern woman—a difficult proposition for a character whose infidelity leads her to abandon her 6 year-old daughter and to thousands of deaths including those of her brother, lover, and niece.

The scenery is rich, but the dialogue is somewhat contrived or stilted in certain parts. We never really get to fully understand how being the most beautiful woman in the world affects Helen as a person. It’s clear she’s ambivalent concerning the subject, but we never are never fully given insight into why.

True to her usual style, George follows the life of a single historical notable. What sets this novel apart from her previous work is the fact that Helen of Troy is, arguably, a fictional character. While the Trojan War has been proven to be quite real, it was more likely fought for economic gain than for the love of the Zeus’ mortal daughter.

George handles the departure from reality well. It would be easy to lapse into a completely mythical world when the original Iliad is so heavily laced with the doings of gods and goddesses. While she makes it clear that the deities do in fact exist and have their own motives for interfering in the lives of mortals, she doesn’t rely on them as a means to prop up her work. Primarily, this book is meant to be about the lives and choices of human. In this endeavor, it is a success.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at onlinedegrees.org, researching areas of online colleges. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

July 15, 2010

Guest Post: Ladders by Scott Nicholson

Every writer is climbing a ladder, and there are only two directions.

Some writers believe they are in competition with other writers, and that they must kick, claw, slap, and tickle their way to the top. They think they must displace people who are reaching for the same rung, and that those below them must be left far behind. For them, writing success is a blood sport, and up there in the clouds lays a heap of golden rewards. The rewards are sweeter to them knowing others have failed.

Others are just putting their virginal fingers on the first rung, testing its strength, wondering how they will measure up. They might look into those lofty stratospheres and gauge the distance. Some will let go before they put boot to wood, or else take a springing, desperate leap for a rung beyond their grasp. A few will stand at the bottom with chainsaws, hoping to topple the entire structure because they either have no faith in themselves or or their bitterness takes its turn.

However, writers aren’t climbing the same ladder and don’t have to fight each other to climb. Because there is no ladder waiting. Each writer has to build one and lean it against her own clouds.

The ladder is built of dreams.
The clouds are readers.
A nice, soft, welcoming destination.
Without readers, the ladders have nothing to hold themselves in the air, nor any reason to ascend.

Thanks for being heavenly.

Scott Nicholson is the author of 10 novels, four story collections, six screenplays, and four comic-book series. He works as a journalist and freelance editor in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His Web site has articles, writing excerpts, and multimedia files to enjoy.

July 7, 2010

Review: Insatiable by Meg Cabot


Meena Harper, who was known as You're Gonna Die Girl in high school, has a gift or curse depending on who you ask. She has the ability to take one look at a person and know if they're going to die soon.

Now all grown up Meena has her eye on a promotion to become the head writer of the popular soap, Insatiable. But her bosses have something else in mind. They've promoted Meena's nemesis, Shoshana who has a bright idea to copy a rival soap and bring a vampire into the storyline.

Then something unexpected happens. Meena meets a real life prince and she has a wonderful idea. She's going to put her own twist on the storyline. She's going to introduce a vampire hunting prince to Insatiable. But there's just one catch. The prince, Lucien, is a real vampire and Meena falls head over heels in love. Now she's caught in the middle of a vampire war and an ancient society of vampire hunters. Will she make it out alive or will she see something she never has before... her own death?

I have a couple of Meg's books on my bookshelf but this is the first one I've read and I absolutely loved it. The were so many characters that were vital to the plot and they were all fabulously written. The best part of reading this one was the ending. It wasn't at all predictable and I loved the way the ending was completely satisfying yet left enough of a cliff hanger to keep me hoping that Insatiable is the start of a new series. I highly recommend this one if you love paranormal romances.

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