May 21, 2012

In my bag 5/20-5/26

A Game of Thrones: George R.R. Martin
Dancing in Dixie: Lauren Clark
Three to get Deadly:Janet Evanovich

Up for review:
Catching Fire: Suzanne Collins
Two for the Dough: Janet Evanovich

May 16, 2012

Second Time Around: Beth Kendrick

Five college friends meet up every summer to catch up and are usually bemoaning their jobs and talking about the dreams. When one of the group Arden, dies of an ongoing illness she leaves a million dollars to be split between the remaining 4. The only catch to the money is that she tells them to use it to pursue their dream. The rest of the plot follows them as they work out what to do with the money and how to pursue their dreams.

The first to use the money is Brooke, who works at the alumni office at the college they all graduated from. With the windfall and an old dorm just being put up for sale from the college, she jumps on the chance to try and run a Bed and Breakfast in the small college town with their past. The others gather around her as she tries to get the B and B up and running and finds that the house which holds their memories and her dream now might not be in the condition she thought it was and her dream requires more work then she might be able to do.

Jamie follows her to the B and B as she quit her job in order to go to Arden's funeral. With three failed weddings under her belt she can't imagine that it is that hard to plan weddings and events for other that actually succeed. What she doesn't count on is ghosts from her past visiting that make it hard for her to take Arden's money and making her question what she wants and can do.

Cait is a professor of literature, but prefers to read romance novels. She blows off work as her ex tries to manipulate her and heads to the B and B to pursue her dream of writing. With a blast from the past with one of the girls past professors she may realize what her real dream is and what she wants to write as well as find out about herself and her own courage.

The last to join them is Anna, who has been trying to get pregnant and all they are gaining is debt. It is straining her marriage too. She joins the girls at the B and B when she is needed for a crisis, but stays when her marriage needs the space. Anna, has always found comfort in baking, so she starts baking for parties. The other Baker in town challenges her, but they may find that they both need each other.

Different parts of the story focuses on each of the girls. Since it was covering so many character I personal feel like too much was covered in the plot and in such a short period of time that the book took place. But, I did enjoy reading all the characters story, I would have just like more and deeper connections at times. Also, I think that characters relationships were speed up in the time frame also..

One of my favorite parts of the book was how information/secrets about the characters were revealed. We were given hints that something specific would be going on , but just enough to know that it has an influence, but not what specifically happened or is going on until we really need the information and at that point the character grows and can forgive or learn from the revelation of the secret.

I would give this book 3 starts in that it was a very enjoyable read, but there are draw backs to the book so I couldn't give it more than that. I liked the writing style and will check out other books by Kendrick, I appreciate how she built the characters and hope to see more like that.

May 9, 2012

Strings of Color: Marian L. Thomas

A quote starts each chapter in the book and I felt it was the way to start this review.

"Everything we go through in life is like a string of color, which pulls us this way or that." She said as she crossed one sting over the other. "That's how come we get so twisted in life. Can't grab our own strings and pull them in the direction we want them to go. No, we allow someone to not only hook us but to sting us along."

The plot follows 4 women and the men around them. Simone, a talented young singer but as she learns about her family and past she has to consider how far she will go for love now. Naya a jazz singer, who has built a world around her that seems to be falling down around and and now she really has to face secrets of her past. Mona, has to face the secrets of her past with all the changes that are happening around her, but how much damage has she done and can fix it now. Misty, has lived her life one way and thought one thing for so long when she finds out that might not be all the truth is she going to be able to face the changes she knows in her heart she needs to make.

The plot of all of these character's lives are entwined throughout this whole plot. There are moments where I couldn't keep them all straight and sometimes I still am confused by their pasts and how they are all related. But, it is in a good way, a way that I know they all go together and know that their relationships will work out together.

The confusion worked in this plot for me. It drew me in to the plot as I wanted to see all the elements work out. And see how all the characters grew, learned and faced what they need to through the plot. I would give this book 4 stars, but I do still need to read it again to make sure I understood all the elements.

This review is part of chick lit is the new black tour. I was provided a copy of the book, but the thoughts and summary are my own.

May 6, 2012

In my bag 5/6-5/12

A Game of Thrones: George R.R. Martin
Second Time Around:Beth Kendrick
Catching Fire: Suzanne Collins

Up for review:
Strings of Color: Marian L. Thomas

May 2, 2012

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe: J. Randy Taraborrelli

Every now and then I get in the mood to read a biography or and autobiography and this is what I choose to read this time.  In my opinion/experience there are two kinds of biographies. The one that make the life into a story and are almost more like autobiographies in they lead you through a life like someone living it would or might describe it. Or one that is more a collection of facts, put them into a chronological order for the reader, this is more informative and truths or what might be rumored about a famous person, but is not confirmed with that part noted.

My personal preference is for the first kind, probably why I usually read more autobiographies then biographies.  I think it is because I enjoy the stories of how people know each other and interact, the stories they tell. But, hearing it from one persons side I feel like you can relate to all of the people in the stories better.

Back to this book. Marilyn seems to be coming up in culture again right now and maybe, that is why I picked up the book right now.  I enjoyed the first 300 or so pages of this book. The paced moved well and more was explored then just what is kind of known about Marilyn. When it came to her childhood it was covered, but not over dwelled on (like some biographies can do in my opinion). I like how it rumors or possible untruths were presented and then how they could be true or weren't were handled. Most of this book felt like the first type of book for me. It had stories and gave me insight, but there were moments where it was just facts listed off.

I did finally make it through to the end of the book. Part of it could be that everyone knew she was fading at the end, and the build up was hard to read. But, then it was anticlimactic at the end. It was just kind of an inevitable thing.

Overall, I am glad that I read the book and do feel like I got some insight into who Marilyn Monroe was as a person. I wouldn't go back to it again though. So, I would give it three stars.