Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Ocean At The End of the Lane

Book: The Ocean At the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman

Review: A middle aged man returns to his childhood home for a funeral and stops by a farm near his childhood home. He walks to a little pond (one that his friend Lettie insisted was an ocean) and remembers events that happened when he was seven years old.  

I read this without reading the jacket cover so I had no idea what it was about. It was well written and I was surprised by the magical elements of his childhood memories. Overall, it was heartfelt and creepy (I really felt sorry for the little boy at times. I'll avoid spoilers but the bathroom scene is disturbing). 

Overall-I liked this. It is very short, more like a short story than a full length novel.  

Grade: 3/5

The Husband's Secret

Book: The Husband's Secret
Author: Liane Moriarty

Review: Cecilia finds a letter addressed to her from her husband, instructing her to read it after his death. The problem? He is very much alive and when questioned about it, it is clear he does not want her to read it. Meanwhile...Tess is happily married-or so she thought until her husband and best friend (also cousin) announce they are in love. She leaves with her young son to her mother's house to clear her head. Meanwhile...Rachel's daughter was murdered years ago and she is happy to finally find joy in her life in the form of her young grandson. But when her son and his wife announce they are moving abroad for her job, she is devastated. When Cecelia reads her husband's letter, these women are impacted forever. 

Spring break is in 2 months and if you are searching for the perfect pool/beach read-this a good bet. Told in alternating perspectives, The Husband's secret is predictable but oh so enjoyable. While many women may have a hard time identifying with type A-over achiever Cecelia, I can completely relate to her. Her reaction to her husband's secret seemed very genuine and makes you question what you would do and the impact it would have on everyone around you. My heart broke for Rachel and for her son, both victims in their own way. There was an afterwards of sorts at the end of the book that I wish wasn't included, but otherwise, fun read. 

Grade: 3/5


Book: Wallbanger
Series: Wallbanger #1
Author: Alice Clayton

Review: Caroline is excited about her new San Francisco apartment until she realizes she can hear everything going on in her neighbor's bedroom. Every-single-intimate-detail. When he hosts 3 different women in 3 nights, she realizes a good night sleep may never been in reach. When she finally confronts her neighbor, sexy tension simmers. 

If you are looking for a light, funny, romance, this book is for you. I loved both Caroline and Simon (also known as Wallbanger) and loved how their relationship progressed. The sexual tension was great and the book was funny-I laughed out loud several times. Their group of friends were slightly annoying and I couldn't keep their names straight, but overall, I loved this. 

Grade: 4/5


Book: Collilde
Author: Megan Hart

Review: After a childhood accident, Emmaline suffered from 'fugue' states (blackouts) for years. Fugue free for two years, Emma is finally able to move out of her parents house, get a drivers license and live a life of her own. But when she meets 70s movie star Johnny Dellasandro, she starts experiencing fugue states that are long and vivid like nothing she ever experienced before. 

Megan Hart is my favorite romance author but this book missed the mark for me. It reminded me of The Time Traveler's Wife but the main character ***minor spoiler alert*** doesn't realize she's a time traveler until the end of the book. During her fugue states, Emma is transported back to Johnny's house in 1978. Because Emma thinks it's a dream, she almost immediately has sex with him. Every time she travels back to 1978, there is a lot of physical interaction, very little dialogue. That is fine except there was very little relationship development in both time lines. In present day, she is kind of a stalker type (she watches his old movies and obsesses over him) and he tries to avoid her attempts at being a good neighbor. She was overall a rather boring person (not her fault though-she was forced to live with her parents for almost her whole life due to the blackout issue) and he was...okay I guess? I don't know. I'm still not sure why she saw in the present day Johnny other than obsessing over his old movies. 

Not my favorite Megan Hart book, but well written and it had some fun steamy scenes. 

Grade: 2/5

Bled & Breakfast

Book: Bled & Breakfast
Series: Immortality Bites Mystery #2
Author: Michelle Rowen

Review: After their wedding in Vegas, Sarah and Thierry head to Salem, MA for his next assignment. Several vampires have gone missing and they need to figure out what happened to them. Things become complicated when their local contact, a ladies man/vamp is killed right in front of them. Although they also have to contend with some witches and ghosts, Sarah is determined to solve the mystery and enjoy her honeymoon.

One word here folks-FUNNY! I really liked everything about this book. Salem was a perfect location for a mystery involving ghosts, vampires and witches. The side characters were fun, especially Owen, the local vampire in resident and town slut. Sarah was her usual self-too trusting and funny. 

Super fun-can't wait for the next book in the series.  

Grade: 4.5/5

Dark Kiss

Book: Dark Kiss
Series: Nightwatchers #1
Author: Michelle Rowen

Review:  Samantha is a seemingly ordinary girl until a surprise kiss with her crush leaves her feeling cold, hungry and unsettled. She meets Bishop, a seemingly crazy street kid who she decides to help. Sam soon discovers that Bishop is an angel, sent to earth to find another angel and two demons that must work together to contain a problem involving a grays-creatures that steal souls through kisses. Sam agrees to help them, even though she is now a gray, but one who has special powers. 

This book was a pleasant surprise. I like the world building and the idea that heaven/hell/souls/souless isn't as cut and as it's usually presented.  The strongest aspect of the book are the secondary characters, specifically the Craven (Bishop's older brother). He's dynamic, funny and I can't wait to read the next book to find out his backstory.  

Overall-an enjoyable read. 

Grade: 3/5


Book: Bloodlust
Series: Nightshade #2
Author: Michelle Rowen

Review: Jill, Declan and Noah team up with resurrected king Matthias to protect his infant daughter from Matthias' brother and the Amarantos (a group that wants to sacrifice the child for immortality). Jill continues to struggle with her new life as a walking fatal attraction to vampires as well. 

Have you ever read a book where you know who the HEA is early and you just can't get behind the character? That happened with this series. Jill is more dynamic in this book (impulsive and a poor decision maker, but more interesting), Matthias is awesome (he was awesome in the prior book as well) and Declan....I just never warmed up to him as a character. The romance and declarations of love were so forced. On a positive note, there was more meat to the plot in this book which made it a more interesting read although the end seemed to be tied up really quickly. 

Grade: 2.5/5


Book: Nightshade
Series: Nightshade #1
Author: Michelle Rowen

Review: Jillian is on her way to the office when a strange man jumps out of the elevator and injects her with a mysterious liquid. He is quickly killed by a scary looking man named Declan, who proceeds to kidnap Jillian. When Jillian becomes extremely ill, Declan informs her she's been injected with a test serum that is deadly to vampires, and his adoptive father can help. 

I like the basic plot of this book-ordinary girl is injected with anti-vampire serum, it's poisoning her and she is forced into a world she didn't know existed. Unfortunately, I never warmed up to Jillian as a character and the romance with Declan did not seem realistic. I love Michelle Rowen and always look forward to the humor in her books, but this one was pretty flat. 

Overall, it was okay.  

Grade: 2/5