Another romance built upon a totally unbelievable premise. And yet, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was witty, the characters were quirky and humorous. I will read the next in this series.
If you are looking for a diverting, easy and enjoyable read, I recommend this book.
Early effort and pretty weak story. It was written in early 1990s and because of the subject matter (and the cigarette smoking) seems incredibly dated now. But there are well written moments that show this novelists future promise. I wonder when fiction ceases to be "contemporary" and becomes "historical."
All of the Cynster books Recorded Books produced with Simon Prebble narrating are worth listening to, if only to wait for and truly appreciate the way he says "... and ... then ... she ... shattered!" That alone makes these books listen-worthy. It is in every single book. Wait for it...
Devil's Bride seems to be considered Ms. Lauren's best work. I probably agree. It started off with a very unique twist, especially for an historical romance. And the two main characters are both larger than life. I give Ms. Lauren's credit for creating heroines every bit as brave and stubborn as her heroes. And I also like that in her books it is typically the man who falls first and he has to work hard to convince the woman of his dreams to take him on. I also appreciate that she puts a plot in each of her books. It may not be plausible or complicated, but it is much preferable to so many historical romances that focus solely on the relationship between the two main characters.
But again, Simon Prebble's narration alone makes this book and all of the Lauren's books he narrated worth listening to. I doubt that I would ever have picked this book up in paperback.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. Rob Lowe either had a talented ghost writer working with him or he is a very entertaining author. I think he actually wrote it himself. One of the things that made this most enjoyable was I listened to it on audiobook and Rob Lowe narrated it himself. He is an excellent narrator. He does gloss over a couple of events and circumstances that I wish he spent more time on, but all in all, the book was very satisfying. And he does a great impression of several of his contemporaries.
About a year before I read this book I read Robert Wagner's autobiography, You Must Remember This and after I finished Lowe's book I felt like they were bookends. I know Rob Lowe played a young Robert Wagner in the Austin Powers movies, but there are so many similarities to me, that it was almost like reading the same story, 30 years later.
I think Lowe is under-utilized in Hollywood. If he ever gets frustrated enough, he can always quit acting and write full time. He seems to have the talent to do so. I am looking forward to reading Lowe's second book. It is in my tbr stack.
I think I would like this book. I have liked the two other Dee Ernst books I have listened to. And I have several Joyce Bean narrated books in my library. She isn't on my "absolute-favorite narrator of all time list" but she is generally a good "reader". However she affects such a stereotypical New Jersey accent in this book, I could not finish it. It grated on my nerves so badly, I had to stop reading. A strong New Jersey accent is challenging to listen to even if it is authentic. This was so affected and such a caricature of the real thing, if I was from New Jersey I would be insulted.
I will probably pick up the ebook and read it eventually. It is going to take awhile for the awfulness of the audiobook to be wiped from my memory though.
If you are a huge Dee Ernst fan, the narration might be acceptable to you. If not, listener be warned.
To me, Chick-Lit describes books written about twenty-somethings. Or maybe up to mid-thirty-somethings at best. Once the main character moves beyond that age the term "chick", which is already slightly insulting, becomes even more so. But there isn't another genre to describe this, except for "Contemporary Fiction", which is entirely too vague. It definitely isn't a romance novel. There isn't much romance in it. Maybe it is a "coming of middle-aged" novel.
Whatever the label, this was a well written, enjoyable, easy to read, fluffy with just a little weight to it, book. The characters were portrayed realistically and sympathetically. Even the "bad guy", whom I suppose is the ex, had his better moments.
My only complaint was that the romantic interest comes to play at the very end of the book. It seemed to be an afterthought. I imagined an editor or publisher reading the draft and saying "This is really good, but it needs some romance", so rather than weave a romantic component throughout the book, the author added two more pages at the end of the book that dealt with the heroine's budding romance. I would have liked it better if she just left that out entirely.
I thought the narrator did a very good job. Other than the anti-climactic romance element, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
I don't think I have ever read a book about Zombies. Unless they were some minor character that I wasn't aware of before I read the book. Something in the synopsis and various reviews I read about this book though, made me want to break my no-Zombie rule and take the plunge. I am very glad it did.
This book successfully does what I think the best of the books in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre do. The creature or monster become the vehicle to move the plot along, rather than becoming the plot itself. Early Anne Rice books did this very well. I will probably never pick up a book where the plot is described as "a Zombie invasion takes over the earth". But a book about the devastating after affects of a world wide virus, and the human survivor's attempts to rebuild society when they face the scariest threat possible - an evolved version of themselves, will capture my attention. The fact that the evolved versions are children super-Zombies won't deter me.
I will admit that it is probably the blood and gore as Zombies feast on human flesh that bothers me the most when I think about reading Zombie books. And it seems to me that this feasting is often the purpose and the climax of the book. There was some feasting in this book. But by the time that occurred I was so caught up in the main character and her attempts to understand the world around her, that I was able to gloss over the gory parts and move on.
I followed the plot line most of the way through. I got a little confused by the wrap up explanation and felt that part was rushed. I am still not sure I understood the climax and what remained after. But the characters were well developed and understandable. I am not sure if this was intentional, but I liked that almost all of the characters had character flaws that were ambiguous at best. No one was entirely good or entirely evil.
I am very glad I read this book and highly recommend it.
I don't usually read "guy lit", but this book got some great reviews. I knew a movie was coming out this fall and the previews made me curious about the book. I am very glad I read it. Although the premise was a little unbelievable and none of the characters seemed to question their mother about it, the author took a unique event and made it into a homecoming, a reunion and a healing for a family that was splintered and falling apart. There are lots of stories centered around families coming together for a funeral. But the type of funeral involved in this book allowed the author to spread the angst, humor, misunderstanding and forgiveness over several days.
I thought the ending was appropriate, although probably not the ending a woman author would have chosen. And I thought most of the main characters were portrayed sympathetically. I wish the author had spent a little more time on some of the secondary characters though.
Tropper's writing style is quick, to the point and not overly wordy. I really appreciated that. The narration was excellent. I will look for more books read by de Ocampo and I will read Tropper's other books as well. I really recommend this one.
I am always hesitant about historical perspectives that attempt to fit people and the times they lived in into neat boxes. Whether you are classifying people by their religious beliefs, their ethnic background or their purpose at the time, there are always people and times that don't fit neatly into the box. When you label an historical event or time period as a "class struggle", a "religious conflict" or a "race war", your label may encompass 80% of the problems and issues, but it ignores entirely the other 20% of what was going on at the time. And sometimes that other 20% is the critical piece that explains the whole. Not every early immigrant came to the new world seeking religious freedom. The American Civil War wasn't just about slavery.
This book attempts to categorize the people that settled the United States and the regions they settled into eleven neat boxes that explain why the country acts and reacts the way it does on social, moral, political and traditional issues. If a person lives in a certain section of the country, we should be able to infer from that how they feel and react to all of the major issues of the day. Based on this premise, I should dislike this book.
And yet I didn't. I found it informative and fascinating. It shed light on our historical response to several issues that I have never understood. And it clearly expressed thoughts I have always struggled with expressing myself. I didn't finish the book thinking that I agreed 100% with everything in it. But I did finish it thinking it expanded my understanding, clarified some muddy thoughts and reinforced some long-held beliefs. It is such a large book that presents so many large ideas that it can't be explained or defined in a short review.
My primary takeaways were:
While the people who inhabit a region do mold and affect the character, belief system and structure of a region, conversely the region molds and affects the character and belief system of the people who inhabit a region. When individuals or groups of people migrate from one region to another, they tend to adapt to the region, more than the region adapts to them.
State borders are as artificial and unimportant in the big scheme of things, as I have long thought they were. Trying to understand why two states with a long contiguous border react so differently to political and religious issues is futile. But if you pull back and look at the larger regions each state inhabits, their actions make much more sense.
There are cities and counties that seem to react completely differently than the areas surrounding them. These are often "border" areas, where multiple regions intersect and struggle. These areas seem to be the big "unknowns" in many of the critical points of our history.
It is evidently going to take more than 400 years for the personalities, belief systems, priorities and thought processes of our original founders to work through our systems and no longer affect us. We still react to many issues and problems the way our fore bearers who first settled this nation did. While some of these inherited beliefs and responses still serve us well, others have far outlived their usefulness and now cause more harm than good.
I don't know if I agree with the author's premise that at some point in the next 150 years or so, some or all of these regions may break away from the three countries that currently compose North America. But after reading this book, I am far less skeptical about this than I was before I read it. And I am no longer certain that would necessarily be a bad thing.
This is one of those books that was almost very good. Not great, but it almost deserved a "very" in front of the good. What kept me from adding the "very" is a little difficult to express.
On the one hand, the author presents two interesting central characters. Both have excessive baggage, both are trying to live a narrowly defined life that no longer works for them, both live with tragedy. And when the book focuses on the evolution of those characters it deserves the "very good". You feel the female character's painful awkwardness and the male character's fear of further rejection.
She looses it though with the way the plot is hurried. The two characters don't have sufficient time or history to build a relationship which is born out with the impractical and unrealistic way she finally gets them together. I felt like the last quarter of the book was the most important, but got the least amount of time or attention from the author.
One other complaint is that the male character's issues arose from a very serious health problem. I don't doubt that someone could fall in love with a person they recently met, even knowing that the person suffered from a debilitating illness with a very poor prognosis. But I do doubt that they could fall in love and totally ignore the issue. The fact that this was so lightly glossed over really bothered me.
Anya Seton's historical fiction seems to age very well. I read Green Darkness many years ago and it remains one of my all time favorites, in my favorite genre. I listened to Katherine several years back and became impressed with Ms. Seton's talent once again.
The Winthrop woman tells the story of Elizabeth Winthrop, the daughter-in-law/niece of John Winthrop, a strict Puritan and a founding governor of the Massachusetts Colony in the first half of the 17th Century. While Elizabeth actually existed, and due to her relationship to John Winthrop whose life was well documented, we know many of the "facts" of her life - her parentage, her move to the new world, her marriages - we don't have the knowledge of the details of her life like we do Elizabeth I or Marie Antoinette. In many ways she was a "nobody" and the details of their lives seldom survive. But somehow, in a time when women were definitely "background" and men made history, there are a few incidences in her life that stood out at the time and have survived. These set her apart from the thousands of faceless women who lived her same life.
Ms. Seton took the few facts at hand and built a readable romance novel. If that is all it was, I would say this was an adequate book. But she then added layers of facts about the time Elizabeth lived and the larger than life historical figures she knew and created a strong work of historical fiction. She breathed life and sympathy into historical figures that are typically seen as caricatures or cardboard cutouts of real people. Especially John Winthrop. She made a man historically portrayed as cold and unlikeable, into a man with flaws who constantly doubted himself and struggled to live the life he preached. We will never know how accurate her interpretation of the man was, but by making him more human, it mad me more curious to learn more of the truth about the man. This is what elevated my overall rating of the book.
Elizabeth Winthrop lived and survived in a critical period of history. The mere fact that she survived and thrived an adventure that most who attempted it did not, makes her worthy of remembering. The fact that as a woman of the time, she was visible and vocal enough that her name was written down and her life remembered at all, makes this book worth reading.
The narrator did an excellent job.
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