Book Review: Tara Road – Maeve Binchy

synopsis single

 

With each new book, Maeve Binchy continues a remarkable progression of sales and audience growth, reaching fans of all ages and backgrounds with her matchless wit, warmth, and sheer storytelling magic. “Tara Road,” her first full-length novel since “The Glass Lake,” again shows her incomparable understanding of the human heart in the tale of two women, one from Ireland, one from America, who switch lives, and in doing so learn much about each other, as well as much about themselves.Ria lived on Tara Road in Dublin with her dashing husband, Danny, and their two children. She fully believed she was happily married, right up until the day Danny told her he was leaving her to be with his young, pregnant girlfriend. By a chance phone call, Ria meets Marilyn, a woman from New England unable to come to terms with her only son’s death and now separated from her husband. The two women exchange houses for the summer with extraordinary consequences, each learning that the other has a deep secret that can never be revealed.

Drawn into lifestyles vastly differing from their own, at first each resents the news of how well the other is getting on. Ria seems to have become quite a hostess, entertaining half the neighborhood, which at first irritates the reserved and withdrawn Marilyn, a woman who has always guarded her privacy. Marilyn seems to have become bosom friends with Ria’s children, as well as with Colm, a handsome restaurateur, whom Ria has begun to miss terribly. At the end of the summer, the women at last meet face-to-face. Having learned a great deal, about themselves and about each other, they find that they have become, firmly and forever, good friends.

A moving story rendered with the deft touch of a master artisan, “Tara Road” is Maeve Binchy at her very best — utterly beautiful, hauntingly unforgettable, entirely original, and wholly enjoyable.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

When Oprah´s book club recommends a book you better get your wallet ready to buy the book. Or, that´s what I believed.

Turns out that not everything Oprah´s Book Club recommended is worth gold.

`Tara Road` by author Maeve Binchy is a sophisticated version of what I´ve been reading for years- Women´s fiction. Tara Road

I have many things to say about this book. None of which I feel would be helpful because this is one of those reads a reader truly has to experience for themselves.

What I will say is that I was smitten with the writing.

 

The writing is beautiful – The story less so. 

 

I can´t really say why but I was bored senseless with the story. The whole thing wasn´t gripping enough to hold my attention for longer than an hour at a time.  It took me almost a month to finish this 648-page read. A month!!

I´m also a little disappointed ( after having invested so much time reading ) with the way the story ended. * shaking head * What a shame. The end was like a sweaty lukewarm, barely-there handshake.

Oprah disappointed me this time, y´all.


 

Would I recommend this book?  Yes. I know many people who loved `Tara Road`. My guess is that many more will probably love this book, too. It´s basically a chick-lit with a dash of everything I never knew I didn´t enjoy.  This book wasn´t for me.

Would I reread this book? No.


 

The Cover – 3 Stars:   A painting cover image… This isn´t something that would make me drop whatever I´m doing, you know?

The STory – 2 Stars:   The synopsis sounded a lot better than the story actually was.

The Characters – 2 Stars:   They felt as helpless and hopeless as the story felt.

My emotional state after finishing this read –  Tired.

2 stars

 

You can purchase `Tara Road` by author Maeve Binchy on Amazon.com

Book Review: When Ashes Fall – Marni Mann

synopsis single

It’s been said that you can’t love two men at the same time.
You can’t split your heart, soul, and body in half.
But I’m here to tell you, you can.
Dylan Cole is like ice, sharp and unpredictable, the thunder inside a tumultuous storm.
Smith Reid is warmth, soft and gentle, perfect like a sunny day.
Both are mine.
But I can have only one.
There are two sides to this tale.
I’m here to tell you mine.
If you think this story is about a cheater, you couldn’t be more wrong.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

The synopsis sounds dramatic. The story is depressingly dramatic.

 

`It´s been said you can´t love two men at the same time.`

 

This synopsis is like every other one for a serious ménage á trois romance. They all promise the same but few rarely deliver the intensity a love triangle has/is supposed to have. Well, there´s no love triangle in this book. At least not in a traditional sense.

So, why did I still end up buying this book? A few spoiler-free online reviews were pretty convincing. Plus I wanted to be wowed again by a massive love story about a woman who can´t make up her mind on who she wants more.

`When Ashes Fall` by Marni Mann is a story about love, loss, heartbreak, heartache, and recovery. It´s pretty much one gloomy cloud with a few rays of sunshine… That, there, is the story in a nutshell. When ashes fall

Meeh, I wasn´t blown away. Not by this book. Although, the story on its own is okay.  It´s the writing that put me off.

 

  • The story felt like I was in some gray universe. I wanted to find the legendary Color Belt and rescue Boston with some rainbows while riding on a horse named Starlite ( I´ve been watching too many Rainbow Brite episodes )

 

  • Chapter sizes were somewhere between 4 – 7 pages. A reader is able to fly through the pages and conquer 56 chapters + an epilogue with ease. While this isn´t really story threatening it is annoying knowing you get little information per scene/ chapter. For a story as heavy and emotional as this one is I would have liked a little more description.

 

  • There was POV hopping- divided by three. Sometimes I don´t need to have a third character´s point of view unless they have something relevant to add to the story. What happened here was both men and the female protagonist had voices. It would´ve been enough if one of the men and the Heroine had their moments.  You know, maybe make things a little more interesting by not knowing EVERYTHING.

 

  • The Past & Present flips. Really, I don´t like it when stories jump back and forth.

 

  • I can buy an instant-love once. I can´t buy an instant-love twice. It´s just not going to happen. This puts a huge damper on my mood because how fat are chances an instant-love happens twice to the same person? I´m not judging. Okay, I am.

 

  • An overuse of three-word sentences.

 

 

The writing and the way the story was told didn´t do it for me at all. The POV changes interrupted my reading flow. Just when I finally felt a connection with a scene it was cut off by a time leap or a different POV.

 

Would I recommend this book? No. It´s 65% depressing and 35% hopeful. But I can totally see why others would like this book. It´s romantically depressing and can touch all the right buttons if a reader likes that. I don´t, especially with the way it´s written, so…

Would I reread this book? Nope.

 


 

The Cover – 3 Stars:   Although I´m not a fan of character images on covers I do think the woman on the front suits the Heroine just fine.

The Story – 2 Stars:   A little too depressing for my taste.

The Characters – 2 stars:   I thought Dylan was completely unnecessary. Alix- She could´ve been more convincing. Smith, on the other hand- What a great character. But the trio didn´t have enough spark for me.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Meeh.

2 stars

 



 

You can purchase `When Ashes Fall by author Marni Mann over at Amazon.com

When ashes fall

 

 

 

 

Double Book Review: Cinder & Ella ( #1 & #2 ) – Kelly Oram

Book Review for Cinder & Ella ( book #1 ) by Kelly Oram

 

synopsis book 1

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder. 
… 
Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

I´m glad I didn´t rush a review for `Cinder & Ella`( Cinder & Ella #1 ) by Kelly Oram because this review would have turned out meaner than the characters portrayed in the book.

Cinder Ella ( Engl )

Thanks to giving myself time to think about Cinder and Ella´s story I can approach this review with a less vicious mind.

I finished this book weeks ago. And as more time passes the less I can remember the story. Which doesn´t speak for the story, to be honest. If you can´t remember shit then the book hasn´t made much of an impact. The only thing I do remember are the notes I made for the book.

 

 

cinder ella

 

Let´s start off with the book description before explaining the asshole song / rhyme. It´s p.r.e.t.t.y. long for a novel with 250 + pages. And the title is also quite revealing. Cinder and Ella… Cinderella!

 

You´re welcome.

 

It´s sad that it took me a while to figure that one out * face palm *.

Where was I? Oh, that´s right. The review.

I´m going to say that this book was okay. A YA / Contemp. romantic Cinderella retelling with many shallow asshole characters that were more meeh than ooooh. The teenage drama in a plastic world where people hardly have backbones or gave two shits was interesting to read about but it didn´t flash me.

Judging by my notes, I think it´s safe to say I didn’t fancy the characters. From the main characters to the sub figures… all had that special type of quality that wasn´t lovable.

But ( !!! ) here´s the thing- Although I don´t categorize this story as a masterpiece I can still see why so many people are falling in love /  fell in love with the book. It´s not your everyday typical read. It´s different with a healthy dosage of sap and…. other stuff.

Romantic? Definitely. The best thing I´ve read? Most certainly not. I know, I know… this is a work of fiction and not meant to be taken seriously but I can´t help myself thinking that everything that has happened in `Cinder & Ella` was just exaggerated to the point where everything felt unrealistic.

The Heroine has been traumatized through certain events and what happens? The author doesn´t give the girl a break. The Hero is this hotshot heart-throb but… he´s oh so powerless. This calls for lots of frustrating moments, I can tell you that much.


Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. To everyone who doesn´t trust my opinion, actually. `Cinder & Ella is a light and quick read with so much drama to last the romance world a lifetime.

Would I re-read this book? Probably not.


 

The Cover – 5 Stars: I actually like the color theme going on. And the prominent title.

The Story – 4 Stars:  It´s a modern day Cinderella retelling with a twist. Meeh. Could have been better. Could have been worse.

The Characters – 2-3 Stars: Asshole-ville- The place for characters who are assholes.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Not impressed.

3 stars


 

This book is available on Amazon.com

Cinder Ella ( Engl )

 



 

Book Review for Happily Ever After ( Cinder & Ella #2 ) by Kelly Oram

 

synopsis book 2

The end of one story is often the beginning of another. Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver and his Cinderella princess Ellamara Rodriguez have finally found love outside the digital world. But leaving their anonymity behind creates a whole new set of obstacles for the nation’s new favorite sweethearts. With the stress of Brian’s fame and the pressures of a new relationship weighing down on them, the It Couple quickly begins to wonder if they can hold on to their newfound joy, or if maybe happily ever after is only a fairy tale.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Yeah, I wasn´t so sure why I read the second installment from `Cinder & Ella` but I did. And right now I´ve come to the painful conclusion that it wasn´t worth it. happily ever after

Not worth my time. Not worth the long night I spent reading. Not worth the money I paid.

That´s not to say that this is an awful read, though. `Happily Ever After`, the sequel to `Cinder & Ella` has definitely been published for a reason ( this is me making wild assumptions ). To give fans more insight on Cinder and Ella´s life after the first book.

 

My general feeling towards the book.

In my opinion, totally unnecessary. Which is disappointing because I expected a little growth from the characters, or the story. I expected the important message that was in this book to come across and not drown in the sea of unnecessary info. Instead, I got some details I didn´t think were relevant. Do I really want to know if the Heroine wants to save her virginity until she´s married? No. This stuff doesn´t interest me at my age. I definitely feel utterly frustrated when authors include the ” I´m saving myself” theme in their books. Many might find this wonderful- I don´t. I have nothing against clean romances but this romance was sqeaky clean. Kind of like

“If you ever so much as think of my beaver then you´re out!”.

I don´t want characters who constantly complain. Bah. You know what I want? A drink right now. Reliving this story is giving me a dry mouth.

I mean, this is just one of quite a few things that rubbed me the wrong way so I´m just going to stop here and say this book wasn´t worth my time. With no character improvement or story development I can´t say I was moved or touched.


 

Would I recommend this book? To fans of the first book, yes. And since this is book #2 it would be wise to read book #1 just to understand what´s going on.

Would I re-read this book? Nope.


 

The Cover – 4 Stars:    Not bad. It matches the cover of book #1, which is a total win for me.

The Story – 2 stars:    * shaking head *

The Characters – 2 stars:    *insert loudest sigh ever *

My emotional state after finishing this read:   Bummed.

2 stars

 


 

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com

happily ever after

Book Review: Emerge ( Evolve #1) – S. E. Hall

synopsis single

“You never have to be without me, Laney, never.” 

He lied…my everything I ever knew, trusted, wanted…I am, in fact, without him. 

On my own and out of my shell, I learn new things about life, friendship and…myself. 

Like what you’ve always known may not be what you’ve always wanted. 

Dane Kendrick awakened things within me that I never knew existed, unraveling and uncovering the real Laney Jo Walker. 

I’m a NEW adult…so is my story.

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My Thoughts 2

This book…. I swear on all that´s pink and fluffy… was THE most unromantic romance I´ve ever read in my entire reading career.

Let´s start at the beginning, shall we? This book was a gift from a friend who said:

“OMG! You HAVE to read `Emerge`! It´s the perfect romance and it has a love triangle in it. You love those. You´ll adore this book!” 

Then my friend said the magic words. Something that always gets me to drop whatever I´m reading.

“This is exactly like Thoughtless! Kellan Kyle is NOTHING compared to Evan Allen!”

 

Dangerous because I hold `Thoughtless` by S. C. Stephens above all other romances. Ain´t no Hero has ever been worthy enough to reach Kellan Kyle´s level of perfection.

So I read `Emerge`by author S. E. Hall. I dove into this book with extremely high expectations and fell flat on my ass after I finished the story. And boy, did my fall hurt like a bitch. I´m still in agony. emerge

`Emerge` ( Evolve #1 ) is NOT like `Thoughtless`. In fact- It´s not even similar ( which, in my opinion, is a good thing. It means the author didn´t get “inspired” ).  `Emerge` is a YA / NA ( can´t really tell the difference with this one. It´s a blurred fluff ) romance that´s about a love that wants to last but doesn´t. The reason? College.

I guess it would be wise to mention the synopsis is also a little more dramatic than the story actually is. Which is also a bummer because I expect a synopsis to give a hint of what the story is about and not to be misleading.

The romance is, as I´ve mentioned above, almost non existent. Sure, a reader reads about a young couple who fall in love and have to find a way to maintain that love. It´s told. It´s hard to feel, though. I blame this on the writing.

There´s no doubt in my mind that the author wanted this to be an epic love story but the lack of emotional description didn´t allow me to get emotionally attached to these characters or the story. This was something that frustrated me beyond words. Don´t say you love her… SHOW HER! Don´t say you can´t live without him… SHOW HIM! SHOW US READERS!

Then there´s my all time least favorite thing about characters:

The over use of nicknames. Honey, beautiful, cutie, sunshine, baby,…. Don´t get me wrong. Nicknames are good. But it´s not acceptable to include nicknames in a dialogue… all the time. There are quite a few scenes where the Hero rolls out at east 4 different nicknames for the Heroine. One nickname per sentence in one scene / chapter.

Another thing I dislike is when characters address other characters by their full names.

“Evan Mitchel Allen.”

What am I supposed to do with this information? I mean- I have a middle name too, AND I´m from the “south” and no one has ever gone out of their way to call “Morgana Julia Peters!” no matter what situation I was in. It´s annoying when this happens. This is useless additional information that doesn´t enhance the romance in any way.

As for the writing: I wasn´t a fan of the writing but I wasn´t totally against it, either. Very simple. Very curt and cut down to the basics.

The characters… * sigh * I did mention that a love triangle is included in this story. A love triangle that doesn´t feel like one because technically, there isn´t one. This is a story about a girl who can´t tell the difference between up or down. Laney, a no bullshit Heroine who´s has no redeeming qualities. And this can also be blamed on the lack of character description and development. And even if the Heroine were well developed, I doubt I my feelings for her would be different. Very unlikable.

The same applies for the Hero / Heroes. A reader meets Evan first ( Laney´s first love or first friend ) and he´s supposed to be this to – die – for – guy with a perfect chart. He wasn´t. Because actions speak louder than dialogues. Enter Dane ( Hero #2 ) and a reader gets the same problem.

I´m definitely a spoiled reader when it comes to romances. I want the whole package all the time because I´ve read books that actually have the whole package. `Emerge ` wasn´t what I would call a well-developed romance.

 

With that being said… I´m going to leave this on a good note and say that I would recommend this read to readers who want a light and less demanding romance.

Would I reread this book? No. And I will not continue the series, either.


 

The Cover – 3 Stars: Not bad. I like the color choice.

The Story – 2 Stars: To much of the unimportant stuff. Not enough of what was needed.

The Characters – 2 Stars: Absolutely not.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Disappointed.

2 stars


This book can be purchased on Amazon.com


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Book Review: All Your Perfects – Colleen Hoover

synopsis single

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?


 

My Thoughts 2

Here´s my apocalyptic thought process when I first saw `All Your Perfects` by contemporary romance guru author Colleen Hoover.

At first I was skeptical. After seeing the book cover up close I was even more skeptical. Reading the synopsis didn´t do much for my wariness, either. It all looked and sounded too good to be true.

The problem is- I´m a huge fan of Colleen Hoover´s first published books. I mean, I´m still, after all these years, recommending Hopeless and Slammed every time I get a chance to, because those stories are simply great.

Since then Colleen Hoover has published a decent amount of stories ( quite a few I didn´t care much for ) and now the CoHo universe is gifted with another novel.

And here I was, hoping for the old CoHo flame to defrost the ice-cold CoHo fan in me.

I think, in my case, that´s not going to happen and that I should stop waiting for a CoHo miracle to happen.

`All Your Perfects`, a standalone novel with so much drama to last me 2 lifetimes. I´m for drama, but not the type delivered in this read. All your perfects

The topic choice wasn´t what I had expected ( which isn´t terrible. I like novel surprises ) but I welcomed it anyway. A married couple ruined beyond repair due to infertility. I want to applaud the author for being brave enough to touch on the delicate subject. But then the author added more drama to an already dramatic issue. Then added more. And more. By the time I finished reading I wanted to open a bottle of wine because I was overwhelmed from so much drama.

Give a reader and a book character a flippin´ break in between and all is good. Don´t give a reader time to breathe and they´ll end up opening a bottle of wine…. like me.

Sadly, the drama wasn´t what forced me to give this book 2 stars.

I truly believe this would have been a slightly better read if the story didn´t have those dreaded time leaps. Present – past. Past – present. Drove me nuts.

I fully understand the importance of adding background information to a story. I just don´t like it in form of time leaps. Why not just write a duet if there are so many mandatory details? Why not just leave out some drama and stick with one time frame? Why does everything always have to be exaggerated?

And then the end….. Not exactly what I would call a nice and smooth finale for such an exaggerated read. It was nicely rushed.

Before we end this review I´d like to touch on the pricing subject.

The Kindle version almost costs as much as the paperback. A little expensive and also a too big of a risk for my wallet.


 

Would I recommend this book? No. I really can´t think of anyone I know who´d enjoy this type of story.

Would I reread this book? No.


 

The Cover – 3 Stars :  It´s okay.

The Story – 2 Stars : I appreciated the main theme of the story. I didn´t appreciate how the story turned out.

The Characters – 2 Stars : Hands down- The most dramatic and broken couple existing.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Disappointed.. again. And because of that this book will be my last Colleen Hoover read.

2 stars


 

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