Tag: Fiction

Guest Review: Rushing Waters by Danielle Steel

Posted December 20, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Rushing Waters by Danielle SteelReviewer: Tina
Rushing Waters by Danielle Steel
Published by Delacorte Press
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
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five-stars

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Danielle Steel fearlessly tackles a catastrophe and its aftermath with characters who are joined together by accident, then share their vulnerabilities, regrets, losses, and hopes.

Hurricane Ophelia is bearing down on New York City. And in a matter of hours, six people, along with their families, friends, and millions of other New Yorkers living around them, will be caught up in the horrific flooding it unleashes.

Ellen Wharton has flown into New York from London, regardless of the weather and her husband’s worry. The successful interior designer is intent on seeing her lively architect mother and has an important personal appointment to keep. But despite Ellen’s urging, when the storm hits, seventy-four-year-old Grace Madison refuses to leave her Tribeca apartment in the midst of the evacuation zone, and they must eventually wade through chest-high water to the police boats outside.

British investment banker Charles Williams is traveling on business but is also eager to see his young daughters, who live with his beautiful, estranged ex-wife in SoHo. Desperate to find them, he checks the shelters where thousands have taken refuge and runs into Ellen and her mother.

Juliette Dubois, a dedicated ER doctor, fights to save lives when the generators at her hospital fail.

NYU students Peter Holbrook and Ben Weiss, living in a shabby downtown walkup, are excited by the adventure of the approaching hurricane, refuse to evacuate, and settle in with junk food and beer until their building threatens to collapse. Should they swim for it or not?

A day of chaos takes its toll. Lives, belongings, and loved ones are swept away. Heroes are revealed as the city and New Yorkers struggle to face a natural disaster of epic proportions. And then the real challenge begins, as the survivors face their futures, with damage to repair and scars to heal.

Keenly observed and brilliantly told, this is an unforgettable story that proves that while life can change in an instant, even the darkest storm can bring forth courage, resilience, unexpected joy, and new life. And it reminds us all that nature, at its fiercest, is a powerful force nothing and no one can resist.

I have to say that I honestly do not believe that I have ever read a book by Danielle Steel that I didn’t absolutely love! Every single book that I have read by her has been fantastic! Whenever you pick up a book by Danielle you can be sure that you are getting your money’s worth. The characters are always so well thought-out that you are immediately captivated by them. There are some I remember because I totally loved them and there are some that I really disliked, but either way, I remember them, and this is because they have been created so magnificently with great depth and exquisite detail. I love Danielle Steel’s books for this reason. She always gives 100% with her writing.

Rushing Waters is a very powerful story. Since our country has just experienced Hurricane Hermine in September, this book really hit home for a lot of people. As I read the book, it made me realize just what people must have went through as they were experiencing the real thing. The description of the destruction was so detailed that I felt anxious as I was reading. There were many people in the book that didn’t take it serious when the newscasts were saying to evacuate and when the hurricane finally arrived, many were unprepared. Then in the aftermath of the disaster, we see how people had to pull together and support each other through the horrible tragedy.

Rushing Waters does tell the story of a disaster, but it is also a story of new beginnings as well. It shows just how much strength people actually have when they think they have none. It made me want to hug all the people I care about.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that appreciates a well -written story. Danielle Steele proves once again why her books are always on the bestseller list!

five-stars

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Review: The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward

Posted August 24, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Angels’ Share by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Angels' Share by J.R. Ward
Series: Bourbon Kings Series #2
Also in this series: The Bourbon Kings
Published by NAL
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Rich & Famous
Pages: 414
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four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…   In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…   No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.   Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?

I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Once again we’re pulled into the worked of the Bradford Bourbon Kings, but this time their patriarch is dead. At first it was thought to be suicide until his finger is found buried on the grounds of the grand family estate. Then, it starts to look more like murder. But who would murder William Baldwine?

Lane Baldwine thinks he has an idea and it’s one he’s not to happy to have and not one that he’s going to share. He came back to Easterly when his momma, Miss Aurora was sick and he had no intention of staying. That was until he saw his Lizzie again and he knew he had to get her back. Get her back he did and he wanted nothing more than to leave with her. Until he learned that the Bradford Bourbon Company was in trouble, his father all but bankrupting the company. Lane brought his good friend Jeff down from Manhattan to follow the numbers and it didn’t take Jeff long to realize that someone has been embezzling from BBC and Lane decides to take the problem on himself. There is no way that Lane is letting the company that has been in his family for generation go belly up. He just doesn’t know how he’s going to turn it around.

If anyone can turn the company around, Lane thinks it’s his older brother Edward. Yet after their father arranged for his kidnapping and declined to paid the ransom all but leaving Edward for dead, Edward wants nothing to do with the family or the company. All Edward wants is to be left alone with his horses. Yet Edward feels a pull toward his siblings that won’t be denied. He also feels a pull toward Sutton Smythe, BBC’s number one competitor and the woman that Edward has been in love with half his life. Though there is nothing more Edward wants than Sutton, he knows that the shell of the man he is now is not what Sutton needs in her life and he can do nothing more than let her go.

In the meantime, Lane and Edward’s sister Gin (short for Virginia) has hopped on the money train that is Richard Pford. Gin has nothing if not an enormous sense of self-preservation and she’s never in her life had to support herself. Yet she starts to question whether she’s made the right decision with Richard when she gets advice from an unlikely source. She also realizes that though she’s been a terrible mother to her daughter, it is never too late to change that. Gin was just about unbearable in The Bourbon Kings, but in this book there was a slight turnaround as if she could be someone that her daughter and her brothers could be proud of.

As if there wasn’t enough drama, the middle son Maxwell shows up. It’s not clear where he’s been or why he’s there. He heard about his father’s death of course, but he seemed to be gone for so long, it’s a wonder that he showed up at all. There really wasn’t too much about Max, so I imagine that we will be seeing him in future books.

So yes, I loved this book because I loved the drama. The alternating points of view, which drive me batshit in the BDB series, work wonderfully in this series. The soap opera-esque way that this series has will draw you in so if you don’t want to be obsessed, don’t bother reading The Bourbon King series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars

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Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Posted July 25, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Series: Bourbon Kings Series #1
Also in this series: The Angels' Share
Published by Signet
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Rich & Famous
Pages: 432
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four-stars

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

This book was like a really bad soap opera that pulls you in and doesn’t spit you out until the last page. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a romance, though there are definitely romantic elements between Lane and Lizzie. There are varying points of view as there always are in Ward’s book. I didn’t plan on reading this book (I never do plan on reading Ward’s books), but I was helpless to stop myself. Intervention, please! I’m glad I did read it because it did show me another facet to her writing.

Lane Baldwine has no intention of ever returning to the Easterly estate. Having left two years ago after losing the woman he loved, only one thing could bring him back–the woman that raised him. It took no more than three words “Your momma’s sick” for Lane to drop everything and rush back to the home he grew up in, the home he hates. Everything is exactly as it always has been. Betrayal, secrets, and lies. The only thing that has stayed the same is Lizzie Smith, Easterly’s head gardener. Lizzie is the only person that has ever seen Lane as he truly is and that is one of the many reasons that he has never forgotten her.

It doesn’t take Lane long to realize that his family’s billion dollar legacy is in trouble. The bourbon that carries their family name and is known around the world is in jeopardy of going under and Lane is determined to find out why. To do that, he needs his older brother’s help. There is no one that wants to help less than Edward. After getting kidnapped in South America and held for ransom, Edward hates their father with a passion that surpasses a million suns. When Lane comes calling and tells him what’s happening, Edward offers his help for no other reason to bring their father down.

In the meantime, their sister Gin has her own problems. Her father has arranged a marriage to a man that is horrid. Literally the worst character in the book by far. At first she fights in, but then she realizes that to live the life she is accustomed to, she has no choice in the matter. I really lost respect for her when she decided to marry such an asshole, but I respected her for admitting to herself why she did what she did.

Lane and Lizzie in the meantime have rekindled their romance, but they are still in the same boat. Lane is the crown prince of Easterly and Lizzie is the hired help. Where can their relationship go? Not to mention that Lane is in the middle of a messy divorce (yes, he’s married though he hasn’t seen her for two years).

This was definitely more fiction than romance. Good fiction though. Fiction that you’ll want to read. I tried to read it about a year ago when it first came out, but I didn’t give it a fair shot because, well, it was J.R. Ward. I wasn’t going to let her suck me into yet another one of her series. Damned if I didn’t let that happen.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars

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Guest Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Posted May 19, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill SmolinskiReviewer: Tina
Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski
Published by Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: May 1st 2012
Genres: Fiction, General, Contemporary
Pages: 320
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five-stars

In the humorous, heartfelt new novel by the author of The Next Thing on My List, a personal organizer must somehow convince a reclusive artist to give up her hoarding ways and let go of the stuff she’s hung on to for decades.

Lucy Bloom is broke, freshly dumped by her boyfriend, and forced to sell her house to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab. Although she’s lost it all, she’s determined to start over. So when she’s offered a high-paying gig helping clear the clutter from the home of reclusive and eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios, Lucy grabs it. Armed with the organizing expertise she gained while writing her book, Things Are Not People, and fueled by a burning desire to get her life back on track, Lucy rolls up her sleeves to take on the mess that fills every room of Marva’s huge home. Lucy soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva, who seems to love the objects in her home too much to let go of any of them.

While trying to stay on course toward a strict deadline—and with an ex-boyfriend back in the picture, a new romance on the scene, and her son’s rehab not going as planned—Lucy discovers that Marva isn’t just hoarding, she is also hiding a big secret. The two form an unlikely bond, as each learns from the other that there are those things in life we keep, those we need to let go—but it’s not always easy to know the difference.

Found this little gem in the library the other day and was in the mood to take a break from the psychological thriller binge that I’ve been on lately. So glad I picked this one up! Objects of My Affection is a perfect book to have when spending a relaxing day reading. l really admire the fact that the author, Jill Smolinski, was able to bring some heavy topics such as mental illness (hoarding, depression, etc..) and substance abuse to the table, but still make the story enjoyable and even humorous at times. The book had just the right balance so that the story didn’t get “heavy”. (for lack of a better word..)

The book is about a woman who is facing her own share of life challenges after achieving her “5 minutes of fame” for writing a book about organizing. Her love life has gone down the tubes, she has just sent her son to rehab, and she is newly homeless when she is contacted by a man who is the son of the infamous Marva Meier Rios – a reclusive painter with a secret hoarding problem. He approaches her with an opportunity that couldn’t have come at a better time….organize his mother’s home while maintaining absolute secrecy about her “problem”. She is given a deadline, a couple guys to help haul things off, and a HUGE assignment. With not much of a choice and the thought of “how bad can this be?” she accepts. What she finds is a eccentric woman who is very used to having her way, and who has a very hard time letting go -of everything!

That being said, I do want to say that this book is SO much more than my little blurb above. Like I mentioned, it does deal with some serious issues as well. The way the author presents them and makes them readable is what I think I enjoyed most about the book. The characters are so real and easy to relate to, and I really enjoyed the various personalities. Just wanting to know what was going to happen next made this a hard book to put down.

At first I thought this book was going to be a fluffy beach read, but I found that it wasn’t that at all. It was a book about people. About people trying to let go but yet hold on at the same time. It was a book that I will remember and bring up in conversation. It would make a fantastic book club read as well. This was my first book by Jill Smolinski, but it won’t be my last. I would definitely recommend it to my “bookie” friends.

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars

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Guest Review: Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Posted May 18, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Labor Day by Joyce MaynardReviewer: Tina
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: August 3rd 2010
Genres: Fiction, General
Pages: 272
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four-stars

With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, lonely, friendless thirteen-year-old Henry spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming with only his emotionally fragile, long-divorced mother for company. But everything changes on the Thursday before the holiday weekend when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank asks Henry for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life's most valuable lessons, about the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting those we care about above ourselves—and that real love is worth waiting for.

From acclaimed author Joyce Maynard comes a beautiful, poignant tale of love, sex, adolescence, and devastating treachery as seen through the eyes of a young teenager—and the man he later becomes.

In the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this one or not, but after only a couple chapters in, I was hooked. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard is a book that I couldn’t wait to pick up before I went to bed to see what was happening next. It was not only a poignant coming-of-age story of a young boy, it also portrayed his mother who was struggling with her own demons as well. I found myself wanting to hug this boy and it really made me think about how sometimes the things we think we know about a person can be totally off. It is a story about love and the strange ways it can be found.

I love the way the book ended as well. Instead of being tragic like I actually expected, it instead made me feel good and showed that sometimes good things come out of bad situations. It shows the power of love as well as the power of forgiveness. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a book that makes you smile as you close the back cover.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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