Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Bridge Back by Patrick Garry

On a stormy night the worst tragedy of Mt. Kleven takes place on a lift bridge over the Esarno river. Many speculate and conclude the accident occurred because of two young lovers plan to elope. Nate and Laura drift apart following the immediate tragedy that they take the blame and guilt for. Nick moves away at the advice of his beloved grandfather. Nate, whose is now a top lawyer in New York City, finds himself returning to Mt. Kelvin for the first time in eighteen years. A documentary being filmed about the tragedy has Nate sent home, undercover, for a client of his firm.

With deep opposition to the return, Nate goes and is faced with the past, the truth and the discovery of himself. Nate and Laura are soon thrown into remembering that fateful night and discovering that for eighteen years they have been living with guilt that might not be rightfully theirs. Through discovery Nate learns Laura has been keeping a haunting secret and both learn the truth of that fateful night.

A Bridge Back is a gripping novel. It had me spellbound from the start. It will bring you through a variety of emotions, and keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation of the truth. Mt. Kelven is a beloved town that has been hurting for the past 18 years. The truth enables everyone to be set free and finally move on with their lives for good. It was a wonderful novel from beginning to end. Many lovable characters and exciting pages! A Bridge back is a novel of the past, present and the future. It is the realization that all three make us who we are and what we will be. It is self discovery and understanding. I would recommend this book to any reader. It will capture you and you will not be disappointed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Renewal of Love by Nancy J. Dowdy-Adams

Madeline Lewis should be the happiest woman in the world, but her happiness is destroyed when she tragically looses her fiancĂ©e on the eve of their wedding in a fatal car crash. After two years of intense therapy, Madeline is deemed “cured” and sent off to put her life back together. Her older sister surprises her with a three week trip to Greece in celebration. While in Greece both women find love, but Madeline resist. She is forced to confront her tragic history and open herself to love. Both women discover themselves and re-gain a normal life through their trip.
This book has so much untapped potential. The story, characters and writing are all there, but aspects of each need improvement. The story felt so rushed and crammed. The book is only 133 pages and took me about two hours to read. I really wish the story was drawn out more, written in a slower pace and developed deeper. Instead I found myself flying through month’s worth of relationship in a matter of days. Most of the relationship focused on sexual attraction. The characters are wonderful, but needed some development. They are adults, Madeline owns her own company, but quite often I felt they acted quite childish and immature. The drama was a little much for me.
The authors’ writing was easy to follow and read enjoyably. I didn’t like that the author put forth comments from the characters in regards to racism. A specific line in the book stated “…they were more wonderful that she had ever imagined them to be considering she was African American. She chided herself; after all, this wasn’t America. Not all people were racist. She had never dated outside of her race; in fact it had never crossed her mind…” This excerpt bothered me greatly. Racism is everywhere, and is not simply about the color of your skin. For example, she was worried about how Chryses’ people would accept her because he was royal and she was not. Racism can also come in regards to the class system. I also feel America has come a long way in regards to racism, for a romance novel of today to make it seem race is still a huge issue. For many Americans there is not racism, we have many different races in the United States. We have many inter-racial relationships and marriages. Just because one might live in the U.S. does not mean that the person is automatically racist. The character also contradicts herself in the next line. She has never dated outside her race and has doubts about doing so. Why is that? Couldn’t that thought be at least partially considered racist? If you are truly not racist why would it cross your mind as an issue once confronted with the attraction to another race?
Overall, I enjoyed this story, but feel is really needed to be longer and less dramatic. The characters needed to act like adults and not revert back to their childish manners and then decide to be adult again. It started to be annoying because it was too rushed and dramatic. I felt there was so much story to be told that wasn’t. The story didn’t feel real, as if it actually happened, because it was too unrealistic. I appreciated the moral that the book put across. Love is there, it can be found. If taken away it can come back. Love never leaves us; sometimes we just fail to realize its form. “The Renewal of Love” is a quick easy read that any reader can find some pleasure in.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jane Eyre: A Readable Classic

Jane Eyre in all of its original splendor has been brought to readable classics. The original version has been adapted only to update the language to make it easier for the modern reader of today to understand. This classic beloved tale of the orphan Jane Eyre will captivate you and keep you reading until the end. Jane Eyre, a orphan who is taken into custody by her uncle after her parents death, and ten years after his death sent away to school by her unloving, unkind aunt is everything the original manuscript is. Jane thrives and learns at school. She becomes a teacher and then a governess under her master Mr. Rochester and falls in love only to learn his shattering secret. Her life takes a turn and later reconnects to her past. She finds true happiness where she belongs.
I loved every minute of this book. Though I have read Jane Eyre multiple times before, I was able to see this novel in a new light, due to the let down of a language barrier. Our vocabulary does not consist of the formalities in 1847. We do not converse on the same level, more so we discuss more freely and openly today. The novel in its new form is everything Charlotte Bronte gave to her 1847 readers, but updated for ease in understanding for today’s reader.
This is a must read! I am a firm believer that you should read the original at some point in your life. However, if you have ever read Jane Eyre or if you have had trouble understanding the original this readable classic will draw you in and keep you spell bound to the end. I highly suggest this book to any reader. It is a wonderful classic novel. I look forward to reading and expanding my library to include other readable classics.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Cousin's Challenge by Wanda E. Brunstetter

I found this book exhausting and overwhelming. The first couple chapters set the pace of extreme dialogue and thoughts of the characters for the rest of the book. It leaves very little interpretation for the reader. I felt that if I met this author in real life she would talk constantly, just like in her writing.

The book is full of tragedy, one after another. I feel the author didn't have any other way to keep going with the book, except to add another tragedy or accident. While its true that tragedy can bring people together, simple honest communication would have done the same thing, and the book would have been much shorter. From the very beginning I knew how the book would end, I just had to sit through all the dialogue to confirm it.

The book was overall very easy to read. I wish the flow of the book was better. The use of regular English and Amish phrases were jagged, and didn't seem to always be in place. Its like the author realized she hadn't used an Amish term in a while and should do so. I also feel this book was just like every other book I have read in regards to the Amish culture. Tragedy and love triangles where everyone thinks they know everything about everyone else's feelings and they don't, but they don't ever talk about it.

I don't know if I will read another book by this author based on this book

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

I must start by saying that few books leave me with wanting to give less than a one star review.  This was one of those books. This was a horrible book. It literally put me to sleep. I have never been so bored in my entire life. Not only was the pace slow and mind numbing, but the story equally made you want to stab out your eyes. Could the characters be anymore self involved? Seriously, your life is not fake, it is what you have in the moment as you live it, each choice will affect your future, even if in the smallest way. I found the book pointless and dull. It seemed that when the author had nothing to say, because really nothing happened.... he would go off on tangents of the characters thoughts, which boring, self centered, unrealistic, and just not anything anyone cares to read about. I really can't say anything for this book. I read it because of other positive reviews and I seriously doubt the reviews given. I don't think I will ever read anything by Richard Yates again, and if I do it will be a long time... I need to recover.

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

If you have never read a Weiner novel stop now and go get one, just don't start with this one.  Jennifer has written so many wonderful novels.  Among them are In Her Shoes, Little Earthquakes, and Good in Bed.  I highly suggest you pick up one of those first.  Once you have gotten to know Jennifer through the amazing books above you will want to run and grab every book she has written, including this one!  While this book was not amazing to me like some of her others, it was good. Very enjoyable and easy read. I enjoyed the lay out and progression of the book.  The story travels between present and past, two best friends rejoin each other and realize they didn't know everything they though they knew.  A friendship rekindled in the most amusing manner will make you want to keep turning these pages.  Best Friends Forever is a classic Weiner novel.

Confessions of a Shopaholic (The Series) by Sophie Kinsella

Travel with Becky Bloomwood from the beginning of her shopaholic days until her story is complete!  She gets older, wiser, and more savvy through the whole series!  The series is funny and indulgent.  Perfect for those who need a laugh, or simply love shopping!  The books take you through the initial meeting to her wedding, meeting a sister, and her baby.  They are very entertaining and exciting to read.

I absolutely love this series. The books are a mix of laughter and pain. For anyone who loves to shop, or uses "retail therapy" you will understand this character! I only hope you don't understand her too much... ( : Its worth the read. Its easy, fun, light hearted, amusing and you won't want to put it down. A great series to read after a book that leaves your mind heavy! ( :

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

Let me just say, I loved this book and have read it twice! The characters are wonderful and are brought and kept together beautifully. It's four stories in one never making you feel detached from any of the other stories. A great read!  I refuse to give you more... you just have to go pick it up and read it for yourself!!

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

If you like Emily Giffin's work you need to read this book!  If you have not read anything by her do not start with this book.  I would suggest starting with something borrowed, something blue or love the one your with!  I give this book 3 stars because it is well written and formatted. It was easy to read and kept your attention. I did not give it 5 stars because the book angered me. The book is about this hot shot doctor who you think is a wholesome decent guy, until he meets a patients mother on the night of his wedding anniversary and slowly starts down the road to the affair. There is no hiding that the affair will happen. Dr. Nick Russo basically abandons his family to spend time with his mistress and her son. His wife who is suspicious of an affair keeps trying to believe its not true, but knows the truth. Finally all is out in the open and she does what she should. I agree with the ending of the book, and I really enjoyed the way the book read, but I would not be able to re-read this book and it left me feeling sad and depressed. I don't like to feel that way when I finish a book, even if the subject matter is hard or sad. For some reason this one hung around and stuck with me.

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

The Opposite of Me: A Novel
Sarah Pekkanen
Washington Square Press

I absolutely loved everything about this book! It captured me, lured me in, brought me through nearly every emotion. I identified with the characters, especially Lindsay, as she struggled to claim her own identity, who she was and who she wanted to be. The book is a page turner and is very enjoyable to read. This book was not predictable. Things I thought would happen she turned another way. I loved it! The book is about two sisters who presume they know each other due to who or what they thought they were within their family. It turns out neither of them know anything! They are both jealous of each other, but soon find out the grass is not always greener on the otherside. They journey through sisterhood, life, love and loss (not always what it may seem) to find out that they are not what they think they are and that everyone needs to be themselves for who they are and what they want to be instead of what others want or how others view them.

Sarah, you did a wonderful job! I highly suggest anyone read this book, especially if you have a sibling, a friend, a relative.... anyone who you may have compared yourself too through the years. Isn't it wonderful that we are all unique and we are all special in our own ways, simply because that makes us who we are. This book was fresh, encouraging, funny, sentimental and easy to relate to! I read it quickly because I didn't want to put it down. I would suggest if you have not read it that you do so. Its a great read. You won't be disappointed as it leaves you wanting more from Sarah.....

*This is the short version of my review on this book.  I added it when I first started blogging.  The full version will be posted soon as I am working on updating the beginning reviews*

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook by Catherine Jones and Rose Ann Hudson

Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook for Today's Mothers-to-BeAuthor: Catherine Jones, Rose Ann Hudson
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books
ISBN: 978-0738213521

Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook for Today's Mothers-to-Be is a wonderful tool for all women, especially pregnant women. Whether you know a lot or know nothing about healthy eating for mommy and baby, this book has something for everyone. The cookbook is not only full of delicious recipes (who says you have to be pregnant to make them?!), but also very helpful information on foods the baby needs and that your body needs to help sustain the pregnancy and keep you healthy. Along with these delicious recipes that are easy to make and are what I would consider “normal”. The recipes are not flamboyant, but everyday pantry items or easy to find in you local grocery store. There is also a ton of helpful information to help answer any pregnancy questions in regards to your diet and what you should or shouldn’t be eating. Some of these questions include; “What should I be eating? What is dangerous and why? If I eat this how is it benefiting the baby and I?” There is also a section for your last 9 months after baby is born. The exercises and eating tips are designed to help you loose the baby weight and regain your body!

This book is truly for those considering having a baby to those who have had their baby and everyone in between! Among the many helpful tidbits of information you will find helpful list that give sources of fiber, vitamin C, and other important nutrients. There is information on how much fish, water, vitamins, and other items that you should or shouldn’t be consuming. The recipes are in convenient categorized sections and come complete in a seven day menu planner. The author gives a list of pantry items needed for each categorized chapter of recipes along with time saving tips, storage tips, conversion charts and a variety of other very helpful pieces of information. The recipes range from breakfast to dinner with snack and vegetarian dishes. Eating for Pregnancy will quickly become a part of your family even after your baby is born. The recipes are for families too!

If your pregnant, planning to get pregnant, recently had your baby, are a health care professional or simply like to collect cookbooks or are interested in good nutrition, Eating for Pregnancy is for you! It would also make a wonderful gift for any expectant mother to be! It is well worth the time and money.

**Reviewed for http://www.reviewthebook.com/**