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Obsidian Blue

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

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In Five Years

In Five Years - Rebecca Serle

So the main reason why I gave this four stars is this is styled as a romance and there is not a happily ever after or even a happily for now when we finish this book. I understand why Serle did this, but since this is in the romance genre I frowned about that. Another reason why I gave this four stars is that parts of this novel dragged. I also wish we had gotten a bit more character development for certain characters. However, in the end I thought Serle told a wonderful love story, just not about who readers may think she is telling us about.  

 

"In Five Years" follows Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan. Dannie is happy and living with her long-term boyfriend David. She is off to interview for what for her will be the best job in the world. Dannie already knows that David plans on proposing that night so everything on her life plan list is coming together. Dannie and David are simpatico on what they want their future to look like. After David proposes, and she accepts, they return home. When Dannie falls asleep that night she wakes up five years in the future in an apartment she doesn't know with a man named Aaaron. When Dannie falls asleep again she wakes up back in the past and wonders what is going on. This incident leaves Dannie shaken and wonders what went wrong in her life that five years from now everything is so different. 

 

The book follows Dannie as we get a fast forward of the five years where she thinks her "doom" lays. We get to see some insights into Dannie, her long-term relationship, and her long-standing friendship with her best friend Bella. 

 

I have to say that this was an interesting premise. Serle does a very good with the magical elements aspect of this story. She doesn't try to over explain it. It just is something that happens to Dannie. Because of this incident though, Dannie is stuck in her life. You keep reading and you realize she is waiting for the shoe to drop. And then it does when she finally meets Aaron in her present and his connection to someone close to her.

 

I will say that Serle should have built up Dannie's relationship with her long term best friend Bella more. We get more of that development towards the middle and definitely the end of the book. I wonder if that was a choice though. Since we know the character of Dannie is regimented and has her "plans" we don't see her start to thaw out until we get towards the ending. 

 

And I am going to offer another bit of criticism, we initially have Dannie enthralled and in love with her boyfriend David. You can see why she loves him. But then we do the time jumps and one wonders how much the future incident affected things between them. We do get some insights into other characters that are introduced, but it's quite fleeting. 

 

The setting of this book is New York in 2020. We jump ahead four years and follow Dannie again at the start of 2025. I do have to say that with everything going on in the world right now it made my heart a bit heavy. I wonder how other readers feel about futuristic settings of books? Weirdly enough though the book doesn't seem to touch on any cultural events. I wonder if Serle did this on purpose to enable readers to read this book at any time and not feel like it's dated? 

 

I have to say that I am glad this book did not follow "One Day in December" (BTW I did not like that book) or "One Day" (ditto). I think Serle did a great job threading the needle since at times I know readers are not going to like Dannie at all. I thought the ending of this book was true and we now know what type of event would have propelled Dannie into the future. 


Finished this for Snakes and Ladders 2020. 

 

1. Author is a woman (thankfully I have a lot of current reads that fit this square). 

Snakes and Ladders 2020 Edition

 

RULES OF THE GAME:

 

Everyone starts on 1. There are two alternative ways to move forward.

 

1. Read a book that fits the description on the space number as listed below and you can roll two dice to move forward more quickly.

 

2. However, if you can't find a book to fit the square, don't worry about it. You can read any book, and roll one dice on random.org.  This is to ensure that if a reader cannot find a book to fill the square, no one gets bogged down and can't move on.

 

All books must be at least 200 pages long. Short stories count, so long as you read enough of them from a collection to equal 200 pages. 

 

You do not need to hit space 100 with an exact roll. In order to win, you must complete space 100 as written.

 

Spaces:

 

1. Author is a woman-"In Five Years" by Rebecca Serle

 

 

5. Published in 2018

6. Title has a color word in it

7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

8. Author's last name begins with the letters E, F, G, or H.

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

10. Author's last name begins with the letters L, M, N or O

11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S

12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z

13. Author is a man

14. Author is dead

15. Genre: romance

16. Genre: fantasy

17. Genre: horror

18. Set in a school

19. Set in the UK

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

21. Set in Europe

22. Set in Asia

23. Set in Australia/Oceania

24. Set in Africa

25. Snake - go back to 5

26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long

27. Set during WWI or WWII

28. Written between 1900 and 1999

29. Someone travels by plane

30. Someone travels by train

31. Road trip

32. Genre: thriller

33. Set in North America

34. Snake - go back to 1

35. Has been adapted as a movie

36. Set in Central or South America

37. Has won an award

38. Newest release by a favorite author

39. A reread

40. Characters involved in the entertainment industry

41. Characters involved in politics

42. Characters involved in sports/sports industry

43. Characters involved in the law

44. Characters involved in cooking/baking

43. Characters involved in medicine

44. Characters involved in science/technology

45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year

46. A book that has been on your tbr for more than two years

47. Snake - go back to 19

48. A book you acquired in February, 2019.

49. Recommended by a friend

50. Has a domestic animal on the cover

51. Has a wild animal on the cover

52. Has a tree or flower on the cover

53. Has something that can be used as a weapon on the cover

54. Is more than 400 pages long

55. Is more than 500 pages long

56. Was published more than 100 years ago

57. Was published more than 50 years ago

58. Was published more than 25 years ago

59. Was published more than 10 years ago

60. Was published last year

61. Cover is more than 50% red

62. Cover is more than 50% green

63. Cover is more than 50% blue

64. Cover is more than 50% yellow

65. Snake - go back to 52

66. Part of a series that is more than 10 books long

67. Set in a city with a population of greater than 5 million people (link)

68. Something related to weddings on the cover

69. Something related to travel on the cover

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake 

72. Involves the mountains/forests 

73. Categorized as YA

74. Categorized as Middle Grade

75. Set in a fantasy world

76. Set in a world with magic

77. Has a "food" word in the title

78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)

79. Main character is a woman

80. Main character is a man

81. Ghost story

82. Genre: urban fantasy

83. Genre: cozy mystery

84. Genre: police procedural

85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books

86. Author's debut book

87. Snake - go back to 57

88. Comic/graphic novel

89. Published between 2000 and 2017

90. A new-to-you author

91. Snake - go back to 61

92. Reread of a childhood favorite

93. Author's first/last initial same as yours (real or BL handle)

94. Non-fiction

95. Memoir

96. From your favorite genre

97. Title starts with any of the letters in SNAKE

98. Title starts with any of the letters in LADDERS

99. Snake - go back to 69

100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes

Game REPLAY!

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

MARCH 2020 UPDATE:

 

I know that I previously said that I wasn't going to do any games aside from Halloween Bingo in 2020, but that was Pre-COVID-19. Here we all are, stuck in our houses and reading like mad.

 

So, why wouldn't we play a game?

 

 

I decided to just repurpose Snakes & Ladders for this one! It's an easy, fun game and I don't have to do any work at all to get it ready.

 

 

 

 

 

RULES OF THE GAME:

 

Everyone starts on 1. There are two alternative ways to move forward.

 

1. Read a book that fits the description on the space number as listed below and you can roll two dice to move forward more quickly.

 

2. However, if you can't find a book to fit the square, don't worry about it. You can read any book, and roll one dice on random.org.  This is to ensure that if a reader cannot find a book to fill the square, no one gets bogged down and can't move on.

 

All books must be at least 200 pages long. Short stories count, so long as you read enough of them from a collection to equal 200 pages. 

 

You do not need to hit space 100 with an exact roll. In order to win, you must complete space 100 as written.

 

Spaces:

 

1. Author is a woman

2. Genre: mystery

3. Set in the twentieth century

4. Published in 2019

5. Published in 2018

6. Title has a color word in it

7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

8. Author's last name begins with the letters E, F, G, or H.

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

10. Author's last name begins with the letters L, M, N or O

11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S

12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z

13. Author is a man

14. Author is dead

15. Genre: romance

16. Genre: fantasy

17. Genre: horror

18. Set in a school

19. Set in the UK

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

21. Set in Europe

22. Set in Asia

23. Set in Australia/Oceania

24. Set in Africa

25. Snake - go back to 5

26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long

27. Set during WWI or WWII

28. Written between 1900 and 1999

29. Someone travels by plane

30. Someone travels by train

31. Road trip

32. Genre: thriller

33. Set in North America

34. Snake - go back to 1

35. Has been adapted as a movie

36. Set in Central or South America

37. Has won an award

38. Newest release by a favorite author

39. A reread

40. Characters involved in the entertainment industry

41. Characters involved in politics

42. Characters involved in sports/sports industry

43. Characters involved in the law

44. Characters involved in cooking/baking

43. Characters involved in medicine

44. Characters involved in science/technology

45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year

46. A book that has been on your tbr for more than two years

47. Snake - go back to 19

48. A book you acquired in February, 2019.

49. Recommended by a friend

50. Has a domestic animal on the cover

51. Has a wild animal on the cover

52. Has a tree or flower on the cover

53. Has something that can be used as a weapon on the cover

54. Is more than 400 pages long

55. Is more than 500 pages long

56. Was published more than 100 years ago

57. Was published more than 50 years ago

58. Was published more than 25 years ago

59. Was published more than 10 years ago

60. Was published last year

61. Cover is more than 50% red

62. Cover is more than 50% green

63. Cover is more than 50% blue

64. Cover is more than 50% yellow

65. Snake - go back to 52

66. Part of a series that is more than 10 books long

67. Set in a city with a population of greater than 5 million people (link)

68. Something related to weddings on the cover

69. Something related to travel on the cover

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake 

72. Involves the mountains/forests 

73. Categorized as YA

74. Categorized as Middle Grade

75. Set in a fantasy world

76. Set in a world with magic

77. Has a "food" word in the title

78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)

79. Main character is a woman

80. Main character is a man

81. Ghost story

82. Genre: urban fantasy

83. Genre: cozy mystery

84. Genre: police procedural

85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books

86. Author's debut book

87. Snake - go back to 57

88. Comic/graphic novel

89. Published between 2000 and 2017

90. A new-to-you author

91. Snake - go back to 61

92. Reread of a childhood favorite

93. Author's first/last initial same as yours (real or BL handle)

94. Non-fiction

95. Memoir

96. From your favorite genre

97. Title starts with any of the letters in SNAKE

98. Title starts with any of the letters in LADDERS

99. Snake - go back to 69

100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes!

 

ADDITIONS TO THE RULES

See comments to the post for further explanations or to ask questions

 

When you start on square 1, you need to read a book before you can roll. If your book fills the square, you get to roll two dice. If your book doesn't not fit the square, roll one dice only.

 

With respect to the ladder squares: You must read a book in order to climb the ladder. Once you finish the book for the ladder square, climb the ladder to the ending square. If you read a book that fits the ending square, roll two dice to move on, otherwise, roll one dice.

 

For audiobook substitutions, either check the print book to determine if it is more than 200 pages long, or any audiobook that is a minimum of 5 hours & 30 minutes qualifies.

 

 

 

 

Golden in Death

Golden in Death - J.D. Robb

So for the 50th book in the series was slow to build. I know that readers have complained before about Robb just jumping in and throwing murders at us, but this one I have to say had a nice slow build and had us actually become invested in the victims. I also loved the backstory to what led to the murders. I also loved how Peabody was in this one. She's been working my nerves through several books now, but for once we get to see how smart Peabody is and how tough she's become. The main reason why I gave this four stars though is there is the usual stupid fight (well half fight) between Eve and Roarke. I also just started skipping over the sex scenes. I just don't care anymore and I hate the words "pour" now. Also Robb is still a bit focused on flowers/plants/trees from her latest stand alone as Nora Roberts that bled a bit over into this one. And for the love of all that is holy, let Eve and Roarke not talk about Eve's clothes for one book. I beg of you. A solid entry in the "In Death" series. 

 

"Golden in Death" follows Eve as she and Peabody investigate when a family pediatrician is found dead in his home. When Eve and others quickly realize that someone used a chemical agent to kill the dead man they worry that a bio-terrorist is on the loose. When Eve and Peabody link the next victim to the first, it all leads back to a school that where all that glittered, did not shine. 


Eve is Eve in this one. She and Roarke read a bit more subdued in this one though. Not a bad thing. They have a min-fight (that was beyond stupid since it's been an argument they have had before about money) but quickly get over it. I also can't anymore with Eve and now Roarke learning from a material arts master. I am sorry, I am a terrible person, every time I read about it I roll my eyes and snicker. This was a good showing of how thorough Eve is though. For once we don't have her experiencing nightmares or just instantly knowing who did it. We actually get to see her investigate (hallelujah) and what leads her to the guilty party(ies). 


Peabody was solid too and for once did not act like a psychopath. She had a great scene and smackdown of a terrible character in this one and I loved it. Usually she's sweetness and light and also kind of a dick about people who are not part of her "family".


We also get a showing of characters we haven't seen in a while, Louise and Charles. I was happy to see how they integrated into this one and I hope we get to see more of them in future installments. We of course have Summerset, Feeney, McNab, Harpo (Queen of Hair), Morris, Mira, Mr. Mira, Dickhead (I can't even remember his real name anymore), Callendar, etc. 

 

Kudos for once not having Eve and Nadine do their BS dance about exclusives. Frankly I did not miss Nadine and was glad she wasn't in this one. There are a few mentions of the Icove case and the movie, but blessfully it's not in our face like prior books. 


I did love the writing in this one and the look at the ugliness of school and what kids can do to each other. The flow was slow to start, it took a while to get going.

 

The setting of this one is New York in April 2061. We hear a lot about Spring, the smell of grass, flowers, etc. There's even a scene about a tree and I just did not care. I felt a little bit like I was reading Roberts last book, "Under Currents". Some of the science I kind of raised my eyebrow at. I don't know it seemed overly complicated. 


The ending in this one was really good. We don't get to hear the results, but we can guess. 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Golden in Death - J.D. Robb

Very slow to start but solid entry. 

Careless in Red

Careless In Red (Inspector Lynley, #15) - Elizabeth  George

Yikes. This was bad. I don't even know what else to say. I mean...you have Lynley wanting a sexual relationship or something with a woman who he meets not more than 2 months after his wife was murdered. Also, what was George even thinking with fridging Helen? The murder story-line was interesting, but the resolution was a freaking let-down. I don't even know what else to say here. This book felt like a waste of time. 

 

"Careless in Red" finds Thomas Lynley walking in Cornwall. He has been on his own for 6 weeks at the start of this story trying to outrun memories of his dead wife. When he comes to a cliff he sees a body and finds himself thrust in the middle of a murder investigation. The local investigator calls on Lynley to investigate a woman who is hiding something. Lynley eventually calls up Havers who is sent to Cornwall to help, but to also bring Lynley back to New Scotland Yard.

 

I got nothing on Lynley. He's like a shadow of his former self and his whatever it was with the vet made zero sense and actually made me despise him. 

Havers was great and the only reason why I gave this 1 star.


The local investigator had a whole backstory that I did not care about at all. So did the vet and it made zero sense when we get to her reveal. It was so dumb and I just threw up my hands. 


I can't say much about the other people in this story, the lot of them had a lot of issues and there's not really anyone that I ended up liking. At one point I wondered how everyone in this story was so miserable and unhappy. Some of the characters, read as caricatures. 


The writing was dry and the flow was awful. 

The ending was a letdown. Readers and the police know who did it, but I really wish the book had ended differently. Lynley holds a massive resolution to a murder case that occurred 25 years earlier and it made no sense that he didn't tell anyone about it, or at least to tell what he knew to the person behind this murder. The whole book felt like a rough draft. 

Xeni

Xeni - Rebekah Weatherspoon

Not bad, just not that engaging. I think the story was too rushed. I didn't buy the chemistry between Xeni and Mason. I liked Rafe much more because Weatherspoon took time building the chemistry between the two leads before we get into the bedroom. I think we were at 10 percent (if that) before the two leads were naked with each other. The backstory to Xeni's life was too confusing for words and glossed over much too quickly. I also maybe shook my head about the whole "witch" thing. I don't know guys. I am stuck in bed and not able to go hiking so maybe I am just cranky. Anyway, perfectly serviceable, but not something I will re-read in the future.

 

"Xeni" is the second book in Weatherspoon's "Loose End" series. I loved Rafe, but Xeni kind of left me going ehh. "Xeni" follows Xeni Everly-Wilkins. She was introduced (at least to me) in the prior book. Xeni's aunt has died and she's been charged with dealing with her estate in upstate New York. Xeni has a surprise in store though when she is told the terms of her aunt's will and has a huge family secret revealed to her. Xeni finds out the only way she can collect a sizable inheritance left to her, is to marry a friend of her aunt's, Mason McInroy. Mason has his own secrets and reasons for going along with things.

 

Sorry, Xeni left me cold throughout this one. With the reveals she gets through this book and how things are dealt with just did not feel very realistic.

 

Mason though I was more interested in, but once again, we don't get to spend enough time with him either.

 

I applaud Weatherspoon for featuring two romantic leads who are bisexual, but besides that, this book just didn't do a thing for me.

 

The secondary characters were not developed very well. And I have to say the terms to the will read as something that would not eve be legally binding. I just think that the whole story-line was too rushed and you don't get a chance to really get invested in the relationship.

 

The writing/dialogue just felt off in some way. The flow was really bad. I think I got whiplash with how the story developed after the two leads knew each other maybe 3 days in. I am all for hot sex scenes, it just read as fan-fic to me after a while. Or at least something I would read on literoritca when the two people just meet and decide, cool let's have sex. 


The ending felt rushed too. We just skip several months and then we get a resolution. 

My Life in France

My Life in France - Alex Prud'Homme, Julia Child

So this book felt off to me about a 1/3 of the way through. I definitely liked the bits about Child learning about cooking and how she fell in love with French cooking. That said, she seemed self absorbed at times. Also I thought it was weird how Child would talk about others and say they were not intellectual. No offense, but I didn't get that she was one either. This book talks about certain things like the "Red Scare" and all, but it skips over things that I would think that Child, a supposed Democrat would highlight, like the Civil Rights Movement. I definitely got a sense of the snobbish about her at times. The ending was very rushed I thought. We somehow go from the 1970s to Child fast forwarding past 20 years to recount the deaths of her friends and her saying goodbye to a home that she and her husband Paul lived part-time in, in France. 

 

"My Life in France" follows Child as she and her husband Paul start a new assignment in France in 1948. The book follows Child as she slowly starts to become enthralled with French cooking and then her taking cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. From there we have Child meeting Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck who she would have a life-long friendship with and also co-author the famous "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

 

I always tell people that memoirs are tricky. You have to be open about parts of yourself to readers and a lot of people don't do that. I have read a few cooking memoirs, and this is definitely my least favorite. I think at times it was because I felt that Child or her co-author,  Alex Prud'Homme censored certain things. I was left with a lot of questions about Child and her husband Paul. I also thought it sounded like her husband suffered from several maladies that were not really discussed. I don't know, it just felt after a certain while parts of the big were skipping things. I think that the book then trying to throw into the fray the biography of Judith Jones (the woman who brought the masses "Mastering the Art of French Cooking") made the book messier.

 

I definitely get why Child loved French cooking. However, I don't think she ever touched upon the fact that it was cooking that a lot of people in France would not have been able to afford at the time. And honestly I think that is part of the problem with this memoir. At the end of it I didn't really care for Child much. She had a narrow minded focus on things and apparently just ignored the reality of things it seemed. 

 

Also I have to wonder about anyone thinking this was a book that would hit it big in the United States.  When this was all going on, America was starting up the war in Vietnam, the Women's Rights' Movement was starting up, we had the Civil Rights Movement gaining ground too. It just felt so weird that this book came out when it did and it hit with women in America at the time that it did. 

 

When the big eventually ends, we somehow go from the 1970s to the 1990s and we fast forward what sounds like a round of unpleasantness for Child with her husband being in a home, some of her close friends dying, and her finally closing up the home she shared with her husband in France. 

Reading progress update: I've read 99%.

My Life in France - Alex Prud'Homme, Julia Child

This whole book made me hungry. An interesting look at how Julia Child came to live in France and love the people and food. I think the ending was a bit rushed though.

TBR Friday Library Reads: March 27, 2020

 

Borrow (7):

 

Cover image for CaptivatedCover image for Careless in RedCover image for In Five YearsCover image for The Night Country

Cover image for Golden in DeathCover image for The Nickel BoysCover image for Lady in the Lake

 

Hold (9):

 

Cover image for Ninth HouseCover image for The Water DancerTitle details for Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King - Wait listCover image for Unnatural Causes

Cover image for The PoetCover image for The Next AlwaysCover image for Animal, Vegetable, MiracleCover image for The Bromance Book Club

Cover image for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


Read (3):

 Cover image for As Kismet Would Have ItFive Feet Apart - ebookCover image for Evvie Drake Starts Over

 

Social Distancing: Completion of Day 12

So I haven't been feeling the best since Wednesday. My doctor called me back in today since they wanted to see me since I have a shortness of breath and a cough. No fever (thankfully) but a slightly elevated temperature.

 

I can't get tested for COVID-19, but they know I have a virus (yeah me!). 

 

So am now on orders to be in for the next 3 days. So going to get a lot of book reading done.


Take care all!

#FridayReads

My Life in France - Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme Golden in Death - J.D. Robb Careless in Red - Elizabeth  George

I should finish up with "My Life in France" today. I plan on moving onto "Golden in Death" next and hope to start "Careless in Red" on Saturday and finish it up by Sunday.


I am ready to just go hide with books this weekend!

I had some roof work done (caulking, sealing, new nails) but the pictures showed I need to have more work done up there. Thankfully nothing that is pressing, but I am annoyed that when I bought this house back in 2012 I got a new roof and supposedly new fixtures up there, but it looks like it needs spruced up a bit. 

 

How is everyone's #FridayReads going?

Social Distancing: Completion of Day 11

Currently am making a chicken and sausage paella in my instapot. Will take pictures and post tomorrow.


I hope everyone is doing well. I am just a bit tired these days, but that's because it's disheartening seeing the terrible responses to the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. I got no words Florida and Mississippi. I am thankful everyday that at least my state does not have the most incompetent people ever in charge. I feel so badly for everyone in New York and elsewhere where it looks like this virus is taking over.

 

Anyway, I have been going on longer and longer walks these days. They soothe me. I am also reading Julia Child's My Life in France. 

 

 

The Friendship List

The Friendship List - Susan Mallery

Please note that I received this via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

 

Well this was really good! I enjoyed the two main characters (Ellen and Unity) and their "list". I also felt frustrated with both of them while still rooting them on. I also really liked the epilogue we got in the end. I think Mallery typically does not include those in her romance novels. Both of the heroes (Thaddeus and Keith) were great though I wanted to shake Keith a lot especially when it concerned his daughter. I thought that all of the plot lines were realistic and I think that Mallery did a great job of capturing teenagers who (shocked gasp) actually do have sex. It was nice to see parents in this one talking about it as a known thing along with discussing safe sex and making sure that they are enjoying it and ready.  


Ellen and Unity are long time best friends in their mid-30s. They love their sleepy little home town and are content with their lives. However, Ellen overhears her 17 year old son is scared to leave home for college since he thinks his mother needs him too much. Unity is still in love with her dead husband who passed away 3 years prior to the start of the novel. People have been patient with her, but now even her grief counseling group is telling her she needs to move on. (ASIDE FROM ME: Girl she needs to...badly). When the two friends have a falling out, they both separately realize that they need to move past things in their lives. They settle on having separate lists that they will accomplish over that summer with the winner getting an all expenses paid weekend spa trip with the loser.  

 

So I actually really did like Ellen and Unity both. Even when I wanted to shake them both. Ellen had cold fish for parents, so after getting pregnant as a teenager she really didn't do much besides go to school and take care of her son. She hasn't had a romance since that time and is scared to lose her son. I did love that she realizes that and takes steps to make sure that he is moves on from her though. 


Unity, woo boy. She got kicked out of a grief counseling group! Honestly at first I thought Mallery wanted us to dislike her since she was so obtuse about things. When she was rude about Ellen's problems, I didn't like her much. But she started to grow on me. She's stuck in her past and doesn't know how to move on from it. I know some romance readers don't like romances with widows or widowers, but I think Mallery did a great job with this character.

The heroes in this one have some..pizzazz? I think I can say that. Thaddeus's backstory was unexpected. Think Magic Mike. Keith was kind of stupid about things here and there, but in the end showed he was a very good dad. Though he was pretty invasive with his daughter's privacy.


The writing was really great and the dialogue was crisp. I loved the secondary characters like Dagmar, Cooper (Ellen's son) and Lissa (Keith's daughter). The flow worked nicely and I found myself rushing through this one. 

 

The ending was pitch perfect and we get to see a Happily Ever After (HEA) for both characters. The only reason why I didn't give this 5 stars was that I did not quite the initial connection between Unity and her hero. It just didn't work, but then it did and I loved it. Other than that, things were fantastic. 

Persuasion

Persuasion - Jane Austen

Updated March 2020: Still wonderful.

 

Original review April 2016:

 

Sigh. Happy sigh. I really needed a great book. I don't know what was going on there for a while, but I started to feel like I had angered someone and my punishment was to read books that infuriated me for the rest of 2016.

Persuasion is best read when you have some time so that you can just really go over and over the words that Jane Austen wrote. This was her last book and you can see all that she has learned through her previous books paying off in this, her final one.

The book starts off telling of the diminished fortunes of the Elliott family.

Mr. Elliott (a baronet) is now seeing that unless he lets his home or does some other belt tightening, he may have to start selling off pieces of his land. He still maintains with two of his three daughters, Elizabeth and Anne. Through some persuasion, he finally deigns to let his home. The reader and Anne soon find that Mr. Elliott's home will be let to Crofts. The wife of Mr. Croft is the sister of Captain Frederick Wentworth who at one time was engaged to Anne when she was 19. Seven years later, Anne is still unmarried and thinks of Captain Wenworth and is pained for agreeing to turn down the match after her father and Lady Russell were so against it.

We get to watch Anne do what she can to show that she is not still focused on the past when it becomes clear that Captain Wenworth and she will soon be face to face again.

I have to applaud Jane Austen. She does a very good job of showcasing primary and secondary characters from beginning to end. No one is a caricature (i.e. cartoon villain) instead you get to see everyone's flaws and in some cases, some of these characters recognize they were wrong in the end.

I loved Anne a great deal in this book. Dealing with her family not seeing her as important, unless it was Mary needing her to help her through her "sicknesses" they really don't think of her at all. She clings to her relationship with her mother's former friend Lady Russell and takes her advice in all things. At first you may feel frustrated with her. You wonder why in the world did she not write to Captain Wenworth, or try to get him alone to let him know that she was sorry and or at least that she was thinking of him. However, from her point of view, she was not forgiven by Captain Wentworth and it seemed at times he was quite cold to and indifferent to her after they initially met again.

Captain Wentworth at times is definitely a puzzle until you get towards the end of the book. You start to wonder what his real feelings are for Anne. What are is his feelings for the other young women he has met. He and Anne barely say any words to each other, so you start to wonder what in the world is Anne thinking of by still carrying feelings for him though she keeps talking about how she has hardened herself.

Other characters in this story, such as Mary, he husband Charles, Charles two sisters Henrietta and Louisa, the Crofts, Lady Russell, and Mrs. Smith are very important to how ultimately the story of Anne and Captain Wentworth will be played out.

I can honestly say that I wanted to wring Mary's neck. Good grief how had her husband not murdered her. I can imagine a future when her sons are grown up and are just as spoiled as she is. I cracked up at the back and forth shit talking Mary did about her husband Charles and her in-laws the Musgroves. And God love Mrs. Musgrove for shit talking her and how she was raising her grandchildren. You know you're children have to be the spawn of evil if the grandparents are even like, "hey, don't bring them by. Thanks". I see Mary and Charles being Mr. and Mrs. Bennett in a few years.

Lady Russell, though not as self absorbed as Mr. Elliott, definitely has he snobbish ways about her as well. It was good though to see her brought down slightly by realizing she was wrong in so many things and was wrong with regards to Anne turning down Captain Wentworth. Unlike with Mr. Elliott and Elizabeth, you can see that she will learn from her mistakes. Mr. Elliott and Elizabeth just wanted people around to fawn over them for the rest of their lives.

The plot is quite easy to follow (not a bad thing) and it really is about Anne at first doing what she can to make sure she gets past seeing Captain Wentworth. Then it is her making sure she can deal with it, if and when possibly Captain Wentworth gets engaged. And then she is deciding what to do when she starts to think for just a moment that it is possible he is jealous of another man's attentions to her.

The flow was great and I had a hard time putting this one down. I read so fast that I often had to go back and re-read passages to myself. The dialogue was wonderful and the letter that Captain Wentworth writes to Anne is the most romantic letter I have read in a book. I seriously swooned when I read it and it remains one of my favorite passages in Jane Austen's work to datte.

The setting of Uppercross, Lyme Regis, and then Bath are made to great use in this book. You have the players moving all about, and you realize that if Anne who did not want to come to Bath, would have been sorry if she had not unearthed some truths about some of the people around her.

The ending was great, though you had to wonder at the slightly melancholy tone about Anne standing by as a naval wife and having to wait for her now husband to be called away to duty.

 

As Kismet Would Have It

As Kismet Would Have it - Sandhya Menon

I could not get excited about a short story with two 19 year old teenagers deciding about whether to get married someday.

 

This whole thing read as forced as anything.

 

If the author had aged them up by 5 years then I could have seen them having the “talk” about their future. Instead this short story made me dislike Rishi and I felt like the author changed up Dimple too in order to get to this HEA.