"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."
Title: The Peach Keeper
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Listening Time: 7 Hours and 43 Minutes
Summary from Goodreads:
The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.
It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.
But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.
For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.
Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.
Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.
This is the second book that I've listened to by Sarah Addison Allen and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment of it. There's just something about her books that make me feel good. Plus her writing is absolutely amazing! I'm hoping to read or listen to Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen in the next few weeks.
One thing that I absolutely adore about Allen's books are her characters. They're always so uniquely written, with just that touch of magic around them. Each one carries their own bit of mystery, and it really helps to keep the story fresh and exciting.
I will say that The Peach Keeper doesn't have the same "magic" in it that the other book "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" did. It's much more subtle and an underlying theme, and I'm not sure if I enjoyed that as much. However, the writing was still just as superb, and the story moved along at a delicious pace. The narrator, Karen White, was extremely talented, and brought a great deal to the story.
Fans of Allen's previous work should really give The Peach Keeper on audio a try. It's well worth the listen, and quite enjoyable!!
Title: Bared to You
Author: Sylvia Day
Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
Summary from Goodreads:
Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness… He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…
Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds…and desires.The bonds of his love transformed me, even as i prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...
I fell into the trap on this one. I saw it on the shelf at the library, read the back, put it down. Came home and looked it up on Goodreads, saw all the comparisons to Fifty Shades, went back to the library and checked it out. What can I say...I'm a sucker.
It took me a long time to finally break down and read the Fifty Shade books and despite my better judgement I really found myself liking them. When I saw that this one was like Fifty Shades but BETTER I had to check it out.
My thoughts...yes I can see the comparisons to Fifty Shades. Both have uber rich alpha males with issues. Both the girls are smart, but naive in ways. However, the one different is that Eva, the heroine of Bared to You comes with her own set of issues. That makes the whole thing a bit more different. However, despite the similarities, both books are extremely different...and for me, Fifty Shades is still my favorite.
The thing that didn't click with me on this one was Gideon Cross. I'm just not sure if I like him. He's dark and dangerous with a zip code of issues, much like Christian Grey, but something about him isn't as "likable" or appealing. Maybe it's all the references to his longish, floppy hair. I don't know.
I liked Eva. I think she has a backbone, and she's a well written character. I just don't get why she's with Gideon Cross. They don't fit. She actually fits better with her roommate, but that's a whole other post for a whole other day.
I'm still going to continue with the "Crossfire" series, and already have book two "Reflected in You" on my night stand. But I don't think this will be a series that I'll be buying and reading again. We'll see how I feel though after I finish the trilogy...which may actually be more of a series per Day's website...
Title: Murder at the PTA
Author: Laura Alden
Challenges: Cozy Mystery Challenge
Summary from Goodreads:
A brand-new series in which murder is anything but elementary After Tarver Elementary School's unpopular principal is murdered, PTA secretary and mother of two Beth Kennedy puts aside bake sales and class trip fund-raisers to catch a killer. And when members of the PTA become suspects, she realizes solving this murder will not be as easy as ABC...
I seem to be drawn to the cozy mysteries with moms and books lately. I think it is the pregnancy hormones speaking out! Murder at the PTA was one that I found when I was browsing the Berkley book website looking at the different cozy mysteries. I really liked the idea of a murder involving the PTA, and the idea of the book intrigued me. Onto the library request list it went. I started it soon after picking it up, and to my delight I thought it was a pretty good start to a series.
I loved the main character Beth Kennedy. She was a great mom, owned a bookstore, and did everything she could to make a good life for her and her children. When she joined the PTA, it was to get out of her house, and out of the funk she had found herself in since her divorce. With the encouragement of her best friend (more on her later) she took a big step to move out of her shell. As a sleuth, I thought Beth was a disaster, but one I really liked. She was so tentative in everything she did, but it made the mystery really good. Plus the murderer was well hidden, and this mystery wasn't easily solved which I always find to be enjoyable. It's always nice to have a little intrigue rather than figuring everything out within the first 100 pages.
Now, the reason why I only gave this one a 3.5 despite my love for our heroine and the good mystery was...the best friend. I couldn't stand her. She was an odd character, and her personality really grated on my nerves. She may be one of those characters that grows on me, and I really hope so because I'd like to continue with this series. Her over emphasis on certain phrases sounded so overdone, like the author was trying really hard to create a "unique" character. I just think she could have been more well done.
Overall, Murder at the PTA was a really cute read, and one I would recommend for those looking for a quick read with a cute mystery.
Ayelet Waldman's delightful new mystery series introduces readers to Juliet Applebaum, a public defender turned stay-at-home mom. Juliet shares parenting duties with her screenwriter husband, but she's bored with playdates and trips to the park. That is, until she finds a way to spice up motherhood -- with murder...Getting accepted at Hollywood's hottest preschool is every bit as cutthroat as getting cast in a Hollywood film. Even Juliet's own two-year-old, Ruby, got butted out of the Billy-goat room. But when the school's principal is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Juliet wonders if someone is taking the competition too seriously. And even though she's eight months pregnant, with a toddler by her side, Juliet Applebaum decides to get off the mommy track -- to track down a would-be killer.
Nursery Crimes was one of the books that I picked up at the library when I was looking for different cozy mystery series to check out. I thought the cover was adorable, and I loved the idea of a pregnant heroine. Being pregnant myself, I thought maybe I would be able to relate to her...WRONG! Nursery Crimes was not my cup of tea.
Our heroine and amateur sleuth is Juliet Applebaum. I former attorney turned stay at home mom, who basically hates being a stay at home mom. She's whiny, and complains about everything. She's bored playing with her daughter, can't wait until nap time, and seems to always look for ways out of doing things. I just didn't like her. Too me, she wasn't the type of mom I could really appreciate, and a lot of her behavior really bothered me.
The other thing I didn't like about this book was the mystery. One, I didn't care at all about the victim. She was there for like two pages, not a lot of connection was made and then *boom* she was dead and all of a sudden Juliet was intent on finding the killer. It was all very wishy washy, and there seemed to be a lot of really loose ends even after the killer was revealed and the book "wrapped up."
Needless to say, despite the really cute covers, this won't be a series that I'll be continuing with. There's too many other books out there that I really want to try to read a series that's only so-so.
And I'm back. I've been MIA the past few weeks, and it's been on the back of my mind. I haven't even posted a review since the beginning of the month!
A few weeks ago, I went in for my monthly check up and found out that I'm measuring about three weeks ahead of where I should be. The dr sent me for an ultrasound to make sure it wasn't my fluid and that everything was looking about. Everything was fine, but baby girl was already weighing 5 lbs 2 ozs at 31 weeks. Figuring that she'll add another 4-4.5 lbs before she's born, she's going to be a big girl. Yay me! Now the question is whether she's too big for me to deliver, or do I need to have a C-Section. I'm really hoping to avoid the C-Section, as I'm dreading the recovery, but will do whatever the my doctors feel is best. I had a few issues with Anthony coming down the birth canal but that had to do more with his positioning than his size. He was 7 lbs 9 oz at 37 weeks.
With her measuring so big, and my due date seeming to be off, I went into panic must get stuff done mode. Anthony's room is completely finished, the house is totally scrubbed down and cleaned, and all of the baby stuff is washed and in the nursery ready for her arrival. And thank goodness too, because this week I came down with a horribly painful bladder infection that has pretty much had me laid out in bed for the past few days.
Sitting at the computer has become really uncomfortable too in the past few weeks, and work is horrible. I'm so uncomfortable and big and none of my work clothes really fit. Plus sitting at the chair is almost impossible. I'm hoping the next few weeks go by quickly and without any "events"!
Reading wise, it's been pretty slow. Since the last time I updated I have managed to finish a few books but not many. Every time I try to read I fall asleep, and audio's are not holding my attention right now. Pregnancy hormones I think :) So far this month I've finished:
I really enjoyed The Help and The Peach Keeper, and the review for the latter will be up this week.
I'm hoping to fnish up the following in the next week, but we'll see:
Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Listening Time: 18 Hours and 19 Minutes
Summary from Goodreads:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone. Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.
I am probably the last person on the planet earth that has not read this book. I can remember when it came out and saying, "I'm going to read that!" I can remember when the movie came out and saying "I'm going to read that now!" Neither time did I actually sit down and read it. I always had an excuse. I had other books to read. It had so much hype would it be as good as everyone said. It was too many pages. I don't know. I just didn't read it.
When I saw it was available from the library to listen to on audio, I figured I'd give it a shot. I'd heard good things about the audio, and I was willing to try it out and see what I thought. This was probably, by far, the best audio I have ever listened to in my entire life. And I'm not saying that lightly. I loved, loved, loved the fact that the chapters alternated between readers, giving each character their own seperate voice. I don't think reading this book on paper would have done it as much justice as these readers gave it. It was amazing!
My favorite character was Skeeter. Skeeter was read by Jenna Lamia. I will now be hunting down every book she has ever read for and giving it a listen. She was fabulous. She gave the perfect voice to Skeeter. Just hesitant enough, just a little unsure of herself. It was perfect. I don't think I've ever seen a narrator fit a character so well.
The story itself also blew me away. I listened to this audio in two days, even at almost 20 hours, because I couldn't stop. It was just that good. I had to know what happened next. I had to know what happened to the maids. I had to know what was so darn awful that Minnie had done to Miss Hilly Holbrook.
I would recommend this book to everyone who hasn't read it. Ignore the hype, ignore the fact that you think you won't like it. Go out and get this audio and give it a listen. You absolutely will not be disappointed!
Title: A is for Alibi
Author: Sue Grafton
Listening Time: 7 Hours and 43 Minutes
Summary from Goodreads:
A IS FOR AVENGERA tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she's got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.
A IS FOR ACCUSED That's why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, she was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she's out on parole and needs Kinsey's help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki's bad name won't be easy.
A IS FOR ALIBI If there's one thing that makes Kinsey Millhone feel alive, it's playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer--and sharper--than she imagined.
This one has been sitting on my shelf with numerous others in the series for years. In fact, I'm pretty sure I bought them in a box lot off of Ebay when that was the cool thing to do. When I found this one in the audio section of the library, I thought I'd give it a try and see if I liked the series since they are taking up some valuable shelf space.
I'm not sure if this one was enough to cement my love of the series. I'm only giving it three stars because I thought some of the writing was a little weak, and I really didn't have a great feeling about Kinsey Millhone. Sometimes I thought she was a big crass and it bothered me. I don't know if its because I've been reading a lot of cozy mysteries but she was a just a little too "tough" for my liking. Plus, I had an inkling who the murderer was after about a third of the audio, so I grew bored quickly.
I am curious though to see what Grafton does with this character, enough so that I'm going to continue with the second book. I'm not sure if I'm going to do the audio though. I think the narrator may have been part of the issue. Sometimes readers give a voice to the charcters taht doesn't seem right. This one made Kinsey a little too "manish." I just couldn't connect with her.
Looking into this one on Goodreads, it hasn't gotten a ton of great reviews either. I'm keeping in mind that this is the first in a series and they aren't always the strongest. Here's hoping for a better read on the second try!