Monthly Archives: September 2012
Waiting on Wednesday
This is a weekly event hosted by Crystal Walker, Ana Carter, Shannon Medeiros, Cassandra Livingston, Chennel Lee, and Sophia Carter that spotlites upcoming new releases that we’re highly anticipating.
This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
What are you waiting on?
Link me up!!!
Shade (Shade #1)
Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan’s violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. “Almost.”
It doesn’t help that Aura’s new friend Zachary is so understanding–and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura’s relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura’s heart…and clues to the secret of the Shift.
Aura and Logan’s struggle with attempting to maintain their relationship, despite Logan’s less-than-living state, was entirely angst-ridden. Her desperation to keep him in her life, regardless of the fact that she should be hoping for his soul to be at peace. Ohhh, did I cry. I’d want the same dang thing, Aura. This book still affects me quite frequently. Oh, Logan. Why? WHY were you so horribly stupid?!
Enter Scottish transfer, Zachary. UNF. One of my favorite thing about this character? The author writes his accent. YES! I can’t exactly conjure up a proper Scottish accent in my head, so when it’s written phonetically, it helps me do this delicious character more justice in my wicked mind. I was truly torn between my love for dark, devastating Logan and witty Zachary. I can’t go into too much detail about Zach and his connection to Aura without being spoilery. I will say, however, that I’m looking forward to learning more about him ❤
There are hoards of unanswered questions and topics that became secondary towards the end of the book. I am looking forward to an explanation about “The Shift,” and how it works.
And how Aura’s particular involvement will affect her.
And the progression/regression of her relationship(s). I have a feeling, regardless of what happens with either of the guys, I’m going to be sad. DANG IT, Jeri Smith-Ready, making me love both Logan AND Zach so freaking much!! Stupid feelings.
Speaking of Jeri, yeah… she wrote this:
‘I haven’t seen a single ghost all night.’ Except Logan, I added mentally.
‘That’s not true. Look at the Milky way… Some of those stars are already dead. In the thousands of years it takes their light to reach us, they could have exploded or burnt out.’
‘So we’re seeing them the way they were, not the way they are now…’
We packed up the car and drove home, under a sky full of ghosts.
-Ana @ SoManyBooksSoLittleTime
- Crusade by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
I needed her, felt bad for how much I imposed upon her, but I never voiced how much I appreciated or loved her. I took her for granted. Even though she was paid to love us, I know she did. We were her children, especially my youngest brothers. And yet when she moved back home, we lost contact. Was it out of laziness of our own narcissistic lives or was the complexity of our relationship so draining she cut the tie? It is my fear that she thinks we did not return her affection and only thought of her as the maid. I often think about her, we all reminisce about her wondering where she is, and more than anything, I just want to know that she is happy and tell her thank you. It is so strange that someone who is such a vital part of your childhood can just vanish out of your life. “They say its like true love, good help. You only get one in a lifetime.” I know. Believe me, I know.
The story is strong and real and touched something deep inside me. I could so relate to the motherly love from Constantine to Skeeter, see that pain in the triangle between Aibileen and Mae Mobley and Elizabeth, feel the exasperation of Minny toward Celia, and understand the complexity of the good and bad, the love and hate, the fear and security. Stockett captured all these emotions.
I also loved the writing style. When style compliments plot, I get giddy. I don’t always love grammatically incorrect prose or books about an author trying to be published, but here it works because it’s honest. The novel is about a white woman secretly compiling true accounts of black maids–and the novel is in essence a white author trying to understand black maids. The styles parallel each other as do the messages. The point of Skeeter’s novel is to make people see that people are just people no matter the color of their skin and Stockett’s novel beautifully portrays that with both good and bad on both sides. The fictional novel cover is decorated with the white dove of love and understanding. To get us there, Stockett gives us three ordinary birds, a picture of ordinary life asking to be accepted for its honest simplicity.
This book is Stockett’s masterpiece, that story in her that was just itching to get out. From the first page, the voice of the characters took vivid form and became real, breathing people. I loved Aibileen, but think I loved Minny’s voice more because she is such a strong character. Besides the maids, I loved Hilly as a portrayal of the white Southern belle with the ingrained belief that black people are not as good as whites, verbalized as “separate but equal” so it doesn’t sound racist. My favorite scene was when Hilly says they have to be careful of racists because they are out there. She’s a bit over the top, but if you’ve been to the South, not that far of a stretch. I just would have liked to find some redeeming qualities in her from Skeeter’s perspective.
While there are some instances where I felt Stockett was squeezing historical facts into the novel, forming the plot around these events instead of letting them play backdrop, and occasionally I could read the modern woman in this tale pushing her message too hard, Stockett’s sincerity to understand and appreciate shines through. She lived this book to some extent and the story is a part of her. Because it’s important to her it becomes important to me.
-Ana @ SoManyBooksSoLittleTime
After running away from home and the boy who broke her heart, Evan Kennedy has kick-started the perfect new life with her celebrity fiancé. So what if said fiancé prefers guys? She knew the deal when they got engaged. And with her ticket to The Ranch, an exclusive resort where any fantasy can be satisfied, she can find someone to fulfill her less-than-traditional desires on the side.
She just never expected that man to be Jace Austin, her old heart-breaker—all grown up, hard-bodied, and holding out a collar. She knows it’s a world-class bad idea—especially since Jace has brought along his buddy Andre, who’s every bit as irresistible. But if they can stick to the no-strings rules, so can she.
Too bad Jace has never been so good with rules. Evan is convinced “forever” is a word used only in greeting cards, but Jace and Andre have one last fantasy of hers left to fulfill. It’s time to go big or go home. And neither man has ever been a fan of going home.
The relationship between Evan, Jace and Andre drew me in fast and I loved the dynamic between them. They have a complex connection and one weekend at The Ranch starts off a relationship that Andre and Jace don’t want to end, but for Evan, she’s engaged to her best friend and all she can give them is two months before she’s set to move to LA with her fake fiancé and his boyfriend.
The prologue grabbed me. It’s set twelve years ago when a young Evan is being fostered by Jace’s parents. She’s all alone in the world, she’s hurting inside and out and she turns to Jace for comfort. He knows it’s wrong, but he’s nineteen and falling in love. They spend one night together and we find out later how wrong things went for them both after they were caught by Jace’s parents and his horrible father.
Fast forward twelve years and Evan is pretending to be engaged to her gay best friend. He’s a relationship expert hoping to take his show to network TV, but is being swayed into staying in the closet, being told that he’ll have more mass appeal coming across as a straight man. Evan owes Daniel for saving her life as a teen and she goes along with the plan seeing it as a way to gain financial security in life, something she’s never had. But being engaged to a man who loves her as a friend isn’t keeping her warm at night and as a surprise, Daniel sends her to The Ranch, a private sex club, for a weekend to explore her sexuality in a setting that will give her complete privacy and allow them to keep up their public personas. Little does she know that members of The Ranch include Jace and his best friend Andre.
Jace and Andre are, in word, delicious. They’re best friends, they share women and while things might cross a few lines between the men in the bedroom with a woman, they’ve never acted on anything together. But Andre’s in love with Jace and it takes Evan coming into their lives to shake up this threesome and bring in some major emotions. Jace is hesitant to start anything with Evan, the woman he loved that left him after the night they spent together as teens, but he can’t stand the thought of another dominant taking her for the weekend she’s at The Ranch. He and Andre claim her and she starts to realize that her solo life is so very lacking and Jace and Andre make her feel alive.
Something about the way he [Andre] said bella – bey-yah – made her all fluttery inside. Like her female genes were wired to be a sucker for the way that spice-paced accent rolled off his tongue. Made her want to find out if those lips tasted as good as his words.
She reached over and grabbed one of the sandwiches to give her shaky hands something to do. Her normally voracious appetite had been non-existent all day, but after round one with Jace, she was already feeling a little weak. Sustenance wasn’t optional. She bit into the sandwich right as Andre peeled off his T-shirt.
Bad idea. She nearly choked on the first bite.
The men are very dominant and Evan falls easily into the role as their submissive. The BDSM theme is strong, and it’s primarily centered around the D/s relationship, there’s no pain or humiliation for the heroine; just two alpha men who both like to be in charge. The emotion for me came into play largely through Andre. He’s been content to sit on the sidelines for all the years he’s known Jace, being his best friend and helping Jace pick up the pieces after his ex-wife made his life a living hell. I enjoyed how their own relationship grew, and Evan does play a role in that, but the most growth for them happens just between the two of them and mostly off page. I’d have loved to have gotten more page time on their own relationship, but the story’s main focus is on the trio and how they all battle their pasts and find a way to be together.
A couple things that didn’t work for me are Jace and his ex-wife. He was raked over the coals by her, she’s bleeding him dry in alimony and his upscale sex shop, Wicked, is struggling to survive. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Jace gives in to his ex’s demands and I wanted to slap him. It was frustrating to see this man give in to a woman who’s made his life miserable. I understand all the reasons he did it, but I still didn’t like and it didn’t seem to fit with his character. Evan was a little frustrating in how completely loyal she was to Daniel and helping him out without any care to what she wanted in life. Daniel didn’t make things easy on her, guilting her into keeping up their engagement. She comes around, but it was a bit of struggle and kept me from fully loving her as a character. She also keeps a very big secret from Jace and it kept the angst factor high, but by the time the secret comes out, she had been with the men for a long enough that she should have come clean sooner.
Overall, I thought the emotion and the relationship between all three people was well done. I loved the rock that Andre has been in Jace’s life and seeing them go from best friends to lovers and bringing Evan into their lives, it was easy to fall into their story. The D/s theme is strong, but most of those scenes take place at their home and not at The Ranch which kept their relationship feeling more intimate and didn’t cross any outrageous lines. I would have liked an epilogue, it feels like it ends a little abruptly, I just ultimately wanted more from all three of them at end, and I hope they show up in future books. This was my first book by Roni Loren and I can’t wait to read more from her. This was a sexy read with three characters that I couldn’t wait to find their happiness together.