A Great End to a Great Series: Emerald Green (Ruby Red, #3) by Kerstin Gier Book Review

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Emerald Green (Ruby Red, #3)

By: Kerstin Gier Narrated by Marisa Calin

Released: October, 2013 by Macmillian Audio

Length: Audio 12 Hours and 42 Minutes

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: purchased via audible.com

 

We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard…oh wait wrong book. We’re off to see a made up Count to close the Circle of Twelve so illnesses can be cured. Or, are we?

Two weeks ago, Gwen’s perfect cousin Charlotte was the Ruby, the Raven, the last time traveler of a circle of twelve–a secret society based on two families of time travelers. But, Charlotte wasn’t the Ruby. It was Gwen, whose  real day of birth was a secret, among other things, creating an uproar. Now, with a little bit of training, a demon ghost friend, and her best friend Leslie, Gwen isn’t so bad at time traveling. But, the mysteries are piling up. The pressure is building to close the Circle of Twelve. And, Lucy and Paul, two time travelers on the run with the original chronograph that allows all time travels to go to specific places in time, are still a sore subject. Gwen is starting to find out what they know–why the circle shouldn’t close. And, it’s big.

Then, there’s hot and cold Gideon. I love You/ I don’t love you. With his feelings constantly in flux, Gwen spends the time not crying with her grandfather discovering more secrets, and getting closer to the truth. Thankfully, Gideon makes an honest man of himself and is upfront. Now, time to save the day you two–together, preferably.

Gier’s final book in her YA fantasy trilogy was excellent. I loved every twist, turn, revelation, and final reveal. I was stunned at the end at who someone really was. The surprises were great. Listening to it on audio made me feel more there with all the action.  Marisa Calin, who has narrated the whole series, was a joy to listen to again. This was a great finale. Everything I would want to happen, happened. I was right about one of my hunches (and, I love being right!). There were intriguing turn of events I didn’t see coming. I think this was truly the best in the series. It was truly the strongest send of a third and final book could be.

I would truly recommend this series. I was never disappointed. There were never any parts I wanted to really skip. The characters were all amusing, well developed and crafted. The time traveling was interesting and fun. The mysteries were intriguing and kept my attention the whole time. This is definitely a good series to start. I normally don’t finish series. I get bored with them so easily. This one, I just couldn’t help but finish it. I’m so happy I did. I am completely satisfied. I hope you consider this series. It’s a very quick read. It is even more fun to listen to because Calin does fantastic voices. Give Ruby Red a try and fall in love with Emerald Green like I did. You won’t regret it.

Nora Ephron would be pleased: What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin Book Review

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What Nora Knew

By: Linda Yellin

Released January 21, 2014 by Gallery Books

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

One Assignment to write about love, channeling Nora Ephron. One cynic journalist. One love-enthused crime writer who kills all his main character’s girlfriends.  One story Nora Ephron would give her stamp of approval

 

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine year old cynic, but don’t tell her that. Divorced from a high powered divorce lawyer, Molly knows she hasn’t found “the one”. Instead, she is dating Russel, the chiropractor. Russell is stable, a pragmatist, and lacks romance. Molly feels settled. When she is assigned to write about soul mates in the tone of Nora Ephron, Molly knows she is the last person who should be assigned the article; and the truth is, she was the last choice. When she tries to create a romantic dinner for Russell, it fizzles. They settle into each other, both knowing neither are the romantic types, but that’s OK.

Cue You’ve Got Mail. During Memorial Day weekend at the Hamptons, Molly meets her match in fellow writer Cameron Duncan. A famous crime writer, Cameron kills off every girlfriend in his Mike Bing novels; while still managing to make every woman reader swoon. Molly doesn’t believe he’s sincere as he says Sleepless in Seattle his one of his favorite films. Like Joe Fox, Cameron Duncan starts to appear everywhere, infuriating Molly; but slowly waking her up in the perfect Nora Ephron way. 

Does the article turn out great? Does she even write it? Well, you’ll just have to read the book because there may be some predictable surprises. I could definitely see this book being adapted to film. It’s a great homage to Nora Ephron, but it’s the characters that are so great. Molly is so much like Kathleen from You’ve Got Mail. The cynicism is spot on. The references to the movies. The way the plot moves; even the slight character growth. I read this book surprisingly in one day. I laughed a lot. And, I admit, cried at two spots. Cameron Duncan was a great character. And, so was Dr. Russell. How boring and simple. There is a scene in the book, a realization between Molly and Russell that I think many couples who have felt stagnant in their relationship can relate to. It is a very relatable book that truly reads like a romantic comedy movie. I will see it in theaters if it gets adapted into film. I hope it does. It would be a pity if it didn’t. The material is all there.

If you are a fan of romantic comedies; or, looking for a light, fun read this book is it. Spring is near. Summer, too. It’d be a great beach read. Yellin really nails the romance aspect. What it’s like to feel stuck in a relationship, in life. To meet that one person who drives you crazy.  To be closed then open. I hope you give this book a once over. It’s worth a read. 

Searching for an unusual stone: Stones by Polly Johnson Book Review

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Stones

By Polly Johnson

Released December, 2013 by Harper Collins UK Digital 

Length: 300 pages

Genre: YA realistic-alcoholism, coming of age

Rating: four stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Coo is like every sixteen year old girl- her friend is a drunken tramp she found by the sea

Corrine “Coo” at just sixteen has already lost her older brother, Sam to alcoholism. Sam wasn’t a fun drunk. He wasn’t the life of the party. On the contrary. He scared her all the time. The story starts off with him abusing her; yet, it turns out he’s been dead for almost a year. He often stole money from her parents, things from her bedroom like a chess set, and was extremely violent towards everyone in the house; but, no one would say anything. Coo’s parents would never stop Sam, just give him money and support his addiction. Almost a year later, and Coo s telling her story: meeting a boy she tries to let in, Joe, who doesn’t let her in, then meeting a mysterious drunken tramp named Banks who becomes the main character in her life. She can’t seem to figure him out or let him go. He reminds her so much of Sam. Although she won’t admit it, she wants to save him; have him be her new Sam although she will stand by her hatred for her older brother by eight years.

The chapters start off with a little random tidbit, or quote that mostly relates to the chapter. Some of them made me smile. There was the definition of a tramp, mince pie, a meaningful quote, and some funny Coo commentaries. There is something so deep and raw in every sentence and thought that is written.  Take the title for example- stones. The “tramp” Banks tells Coo that if she ever has a question all she has to do is stick her hand out for a pebble and if she finds a special, different pebble then she found the right answer. And, that in Heaven there is a new stone waiting for everyone. There is something about those two things that stick with me. The imagery and symbolism. 

There are two quotes I actually added on goodreads.com that I loved so much and couldn’t believe no one else added them: 

 

“Right now he’s like the ocean at night- you know it’s there, but even though the lights are coming on you can’t see it and all you know of it is washing sound somewhere sighing in the back room of a house when they think no one is listening.”

and

“How is it that time can be elastic? Sometimes years seem to go by while you’re looking the other way, and sometimes-when you most long for it to pass-life-times can stretch from a few hours”  

Johnson is a talented writer.  That being said, she did an excellent job of depicting what it is like to be an alcoholic, living with an alcoholic, and the aftermath of it all. I think this was a great story in every way. I really would recommend this, although it is not for everyone. I do sometimes give recommendations lightly because I am a very open minded reader. Some of the parts in this novel is graphic. In my opinion, at least. It is very true to the disease. And, the disease is ugly. There is abuse. Sexual, albeit a tiny bit, and physical. It is not a long book, but it took it’s emotional toll on me. And, it may on you. I don’t want that to deter you though. I do think this is an important topic, and a topic that isn’t looked at much from this perspective, point of view, and format.  

I hope you consider reading this book. Like I said about John Green’s Paper Towns, this is one book where I can see it being a benefit for kids to be required to reading it in schools. So many kids drink early on in high school. Coo’s brother was only twenty-three when he died. It’s just an important lesson. Plus, homelessness is a HUGE issue in this novel as well. Something I have also been passionate as a child about. This is one of those universal life lessons books that, if taught, could make a difference, I think. Johnson writes so well I can’t see it not making even a little impact. Alas, I am not a teacher and don’t intend on becoming one.

 

Happy reading!

Searching for the Stain: Just One Year (Just One Day, #2) by Gayle Forman Book Review

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Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)

Gayle Forman

Released October, 2013 by Dutton’s Children

Length: 323 pages

Genre: YA realistic fiction/romance

Rating: 4 Stars

Acquired: purchased on audible.com

 

Willem de Ruiter has been stained. And now it’s his turn to speak and remember just one day.

Just One Year starts off in Paris when Willem leaves Allyson sleeping. Where, in Just One Day, you don’t know where he went or why, you begin in the hospital with Willem as he suffered a concussion and can’t remember much of anything–especially Lulu/Allyson. He is desperate to remember, piecing together that he left someone. Throughout the novel are pieces, pieces he remembers, what he wished he did differently, and pieces of conversations he wished they had. Pieces of the love he shared with her, it’s all there. His feelings are at times raw, heart-wrenching, and slightly scattered brained.

Where in Just One Day you read about Allyson’s struggles to adjust, then her search for him, his starts sooner than hers did, in a way. I was especially happy when he went to Mexico, but missed her. You learned more about his past, including the story of how his parents meant, the affects it had on him, and the affects and similarities it has with his “story” with Lulu.

Of course the adventure was there. There were comedic parts, especially when certain things went wrong. He lived his life without Allyson, but she never “left him” in the sense he carried her with him. Although in the beginning he gets a new girlfriend (no spoiler alert, it’s in the first 50 pages) he starts to change.

Willem’s tagline, or concept really, on life is accidents.

“Accidents. It’s all about the accidents.”

There is some truth to that, even truth that reflects in my life.

“Sometimes the wind blows you places you weren’t expecting: sometimes it blows you away from those places, too.”

From Mexico, to India, back to Amsterdam, the wind blows Willem to different places that all remind him of one thing, or person: Lulu/Allyson. One of my favorite quotes about her is

“It was just one day and it’s been just one year. But maybe one day is enough. Maybe one hour is enough. Maybe time has nothing at all to do with it”

Maybe all it takes is just one day to fall in love. Forman might be after something there. Even when you fall in love with some, start to love them, even if it happens over time there is a particular instant where you know; you know that was when love hit. In that moment, on that day.

 

I would highly recommend this book. Especially if you read he first. I never read Where She Went by Forman, although I read If I stay and loved it. This was a first read for me of hers where the narrator was a male; and, where events overlapped, but not completely identical. I listened to it on audio, so it took a little longer for me to finish. I do think if I read it, I might have liked it more; the narrator’s voice on the audio took a little to get used to. I still think this is a good book to swoon to because the few swoony moments there are really are swoon-worthy. And Willem is so insightful. Really a majority of the people he meets are. There are plenty of quotes I bookmarked on goodreads. Thank you Forman for a good, sweet conclusion and fun adventure.

“Loving someone is such an inherently dangerous act. And yet, love, that’s where safety lives.”

Edgar Allan Poe was a romantic: Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen Book Review

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Mrs. Poe

By Lynn Cullen

To be released October 1st, 2013 by Gallery Books (imprint of Simon and Schuester)

336 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Acquired by Netgalley

Rating: Four and a half stars

A writer and his demons. A woman and her desires. A wife and her revenge . . . 

Where Winter in New York City is desolate, freezing, and unwelcoming becomes center stage for this thrilling historical fiction novel about struggling poet Frances Osgood and Edgar Allan Poe. From the winter of 1845, when they first met, Cullen masterfully describes their relationship until Winter 1847.

It’s 1845, Mr. Poe’s The Raven has just been published to wide acclaim. Struggling poet Frances Osgood gets yet another rejection, and told by her publisher to write like Mr. Poe- terrifying stories for women. Frances Osgood wasn’t a fan. Dejected, she found nothing special about The Raven and, more so, the author himself. Yet, after a chance meeting at a literary conversazione, a spark is ignited. Frances Osgood wasn’t supposed to fall in love with Mr. Poe. She was married to a philandering husband where he was, unbeknownst to her,  living the life of a half way struggling artist with a divorcee in Cincinnati, Ohio. Poe, himself was married to his first cousin half his age. In the span of two years, the reader experiences the relationship alongside the ill-fated matched. Both married, their love could never be. It was one spouse in particular that is in the way, Mrs. Virginia Poe. Mrs. Poe takes a liking to Mrs. Osgood that leads to a more complicated relationship than either three were prepared for. Add in a somewhat crazy mom in law, and a simple romance takes a terrifying turn. And, that turn, you’ll only find out if you read this electrifying novel.

I never pictured Poe as a romantic. His stories are the poster children of macabre literature, and in general. There is darkness, death, pain. Yet, here he is, a romantic. Cullen includes poems the lovers sent to each other through his journal Tribune. I expected Osgood to be a romantic poet, considering her main subjects were always flowers that represent femininity, but Mr. sullen, dark Poe, never. The poems are beautiful. The love real.

Lynn Cullen does an excellent on depicting this love story, especially with Edgar Allan Poe. Mrs. Poe was a good character, but in the end there is one character who takes the cake. I was excited by this story after finishing two books I didn’t like very much. I loved this novel. It was fascinating, hearing Frances voice and the enfolding of her affair. I did not expect the thrill of an end; thus making me very satisfied.

The story reads like a story on its own, but then you remember it is heavily based on extensive research, making all that much satisfying and enjoyable. As much as I admired Poe’s work, I feel like we are on intimate terms. As Mrs. Poe calls him, Eddie. And, Frances Osgood is a great female “character” and person that I would have liked to meet. Through the whole novel she was strong, resilient, and a force to be reckoned with. How much really would one not do for real love?  I would highly recommend this book, even if you aren’t familiar with either or both writers. I also feel this novel is just for people fans of historical fiction; nor just for people wanting to read a love story. There are so many dimensions to this novel that I think many people would find enjoyable.

 

 

 

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