Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jennifer Ashley - Wild Wolf

Graham McNeil knows that his pack is unruly, but he’s not sure he can take the next step toward Shiftertown stability—choosing a new mate. After losing his mate and son long ago, Graham has worked hard to keep his heart in check. And even if he was inclined to bind himself again, his girlfriend, Misty, is human—a fact that won’t sit well with Graham’s old-fashioned wolves.
But Graham is up against a new enemy, one who could spell danger and death to all of Shiftertown. Graham must now defend his leadership and save Misty, the woman he has grown to love—before Shiftertown is pulled into an all-out war.


Comment: I've been slowly trying to reduce the number of series I have to read and even some authors' backlists and, in that regard, here is another book by Jennifer Ashley, an author whose work I've been satisfied with.

This book is another installment in the Shifters Unbound series and features Graham, a lupine alpha whose pack had to travel to the are of Las Vegas because the government forced them to do it due to financial reasons, not caring they were putting a large lupine pack together with felines. Although the felines, led by Eric, were welcoming enough, Graham knows things might change and he is the only one with strength to keep the pack together.
Melissa "Misty" Granger is Graham's sort of girlfriend. Nothing has ever happened between them and Misty thinks it wouldn't ever but when she is attacked, Graham is the first she thinks of to help her.
Surviving some pretty bad experiences brings them even closer but will it be possible for them to be together? What about the pack's reaction?

Overall, I liked this book but it's not my favorite in the series - in fact, I think the author hasn't presented me with a genius book in the series yet, mostly because an evolution in the plot is taking too long - but all things considered, this was quite interesting. The best think about it was how we were able to see a different Graham, much more concerned about the well being of others and willing to defend and accept Misty and not risking his own happiness just because others might have other ideas.

The world advances too slowly, I think. I know things take time and who knows how many more books could be published but I feel impatient more (positive) changes aren't happening sooner. I get the idea behind all this, but despite the fact the constant appearances of happy/interesting known characters helps, the lack of advance is becoming something too obvious. Ok, some could say the growing tension between Shifters and Fae is already advance enough, but in practical terms, not much is happening.

The romance is something always important to think about and in this case, Misty and Graham had an interesting romance but slightly too quick. According to this book and previous one too, we have the idea Misty and Graham have been in a relationship, not physical, but becoming emotional with time. Graham never truly thought about Misty as his mate for several reasons, but during this book he not only thinks of it but acknowledges it. I get why but then if they always felt like hat it seems rather sudden why only now they felt like acting on it. Ok, the situation may have added but it still felt sudden.
Also, it's never really obvious why Misty, she's human but Graham never seems to confide why she feels special. As a reader, we can guess but in the book it's just another expectation with no real reason and I think that would help in seeing them more as a solid couple.

Some of the secondary characters feel very intriguing. I really think one of the strengths of the series is how bonded the Shifters are, even the ones without mates. The close community feel we have is probably my favorite thing about this and why I usually like Shifters stories so much. In this aspect, the author always does a great job.

All in all, this book offered good elements, some advances - not as much as I'd have liked - in the plot, but the romance could have been so much better. I liked this but I still feel something is missing in terms of making this even more addictive.
Nevertheless, a good enough installment. I'm looking for to read more.
Grade: 7/10

Thursday, July 21, 2016

TBR Challenge: Katy Regnery - The Vixen and the Vet

In this modern-retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," Savannah Carmichael, betrayed by an unreliable source, returns to her hometown of Danvers, Virginia with her once-promising journalism career in ruins. Given the opportunity to get back in the game by writing a patriotic human interest piece, Savannah turns her attention to the town hermit, Asher Lee, a wounded veteran who returned to Danvers eight years ago, and hasn’t been seen since.
After an IED explosion in Afghanistan took Asher’s hand and disfigured half of his face, he's lived a quiet life on the outskirts of Danvers where the locals respect his privacy…that is, until Savannah Carmichael comes calling in a borrowed sundress with a plate of homemade brownies. When Asher agrees to be interviewed by Savannah, he starts feeling things for the beautiful reporter that he hasn’t felt in years.
Misfits in small-town Danvers, Savannah and Asher create a bond right away, touching each other’s hearts in ways neither thought possible. When a terrible mistake threatens to drive them apart, they’ll have to decide if the love they found in one another’s arms is strong enough to fight for their hard-won happily ever after.


Comment: So, here I am, one day late with my TBR read of this month. I apologize again...
This time, the theme is RITA finalist. This book was a finalist in the 2015 edition.
I don't have many of these around but thankfully to Wendy, our host, her list was quite helpful and I actually saw I had two titles that could fit the bill. This was the one I looked for the most to read and voilá.

This is a contemporary story, a new take on the Beauty and the Beast theme, my favorite Disney story and something I always look for to try.
Savannah Carmichael is a reporter but one of her sources gave her bad information and the newspaper in New York she worked for fired her. She went back home to Virginia to stay with her family and a chance to recover her career may be on the horizon if only she can write a Lifestyle piece for a Phoenix newspaper. The idea is to interview a war veteran, a local hermit and present a heartfelt story with positive aspects.
Asher Lee is the young war vet, severely wounded in Afghanistan, that now feels he's a monster because of his physical debilities. He agrees to let Savannah interview him only because she's local too and he could help her.
But two people that went away and returned different can find more common ground to become friends? And even more than friends?

I liked this story, especially parts of it. As a whole, I'd say there are some pacing issues I couldn't not notice. But the general idea I got as soon as I finished is of contentment, because the character's learned to see the other through loving eyes and that was great.
This a Beauty and the Beast retelling, using contemporary ideas/situations. The story is still alive enough outside the tale's main details, which is positive and the author included some interesting twists (the hero is the one who reads compulsively) that only made this look more unique.

I liked the main couple, especially Asher. He is intriguing, not because he was injured and that could make many people have pity on him, but because despite the notion of self esteem he has changed because of that, he was still someone who grabbed the things he loved in life - like reading! - and used that to not let himself be even more depressed. I'm not saying there's a cure for something like what veterans/soldiers face when they return, in particular if they return with physical deficiencies, but sometimes if we focus on good things, on things that give us pleasure and purpose, we can try to be more positive. I liked this about Asher, sure he felt down, he didn't see things in a bright side but he wasn't completely dependent or self destructive.
Savannah was the more active of the two, and I liked her for the most part. The conflict close to the end of the book was avoidable I think, but I get why the author used it as a means to enhance a point. What I think wasn't her best feature is how her personality doesn't match her behavior. the author says she is this and that but some of her actions after don't seem to match the idea I made of her by reading descriptions about her.

The romance was obviously cute, Savannah could see past Asher's physical aspect and fall in love for the man he was and vice-versa.
But to me the pace wasn't always the most adequate. I think the time since they meet until they admit to themselves - if not to one another - they were falling in love is too short. Well, it doesn't have to look too short, but by the way things were developed it looked like it. Maybe the chapters could have included more the notion of the passage of time or we could have had scenes with them still debating if their personal feelings were reciprocated or not...it would give us the illusion more tension and doubts existed and when they finally admitted things, it would have looked more special and believable.

The end had its own issues, I think, but I liked the idea of a common future and a HEA for them. I wouldn't say no to a epilogue of sorts. The title is understandable but not the ebst choice, I think.
Still, I liked this book and I only miss the fact I couldn't dedicate more time to it because of real life. But I was happy I gave this one a chance!
Grade: 8/10

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

TBR challenge

Sadly, my TBR challenge post is delayed. For the first time - if I'm not mistaken - since I've joined the challenge, I'm missing a post day.
I'm still reading my challenge read, real life has been busy for me and switched my plans and if all goes well I'll finish my book today and post tomorrow. Anyone who comes here in hopes of seeing it, I apologize.
Part of the challenge for me it's not much the reading itself, but the meeting the theme and deadline. I hope I won't miss the challenge's deadline - nd my personal one - again.
See you tomorrow.

Rose Lerner - A Lily Among Thorns


Lady Serena Ravenshaw is one of London’s most prosperous women, but she’s never forgotten the misery that set her on the path to success. Nor has she forgotten the drunken young gentleman who gave her the means to start her long, tortuous climb out of the gutter.
When he knocks on the door of the Ravenshaw Arms to ask her help in retrieving a stolen family heirloom, she readily agrees to help, and to let him stay rent-free. After all, Serena prefers debts to fall in her favor.
Still grieving the death of his twin brother, Solomon Hathaway just wanted to be left alone in his dye-making shop—until his highborn uncle sends him to the infamous Lady Serena to scour London’s underworld for the missing bauble.
He’s shocked to discover she’s the same bedraggled waif to whom he once gave his entire quarterly allowance. Yet as they delicately tread common ground, they must negotiate a treacherous world of crime, espionage and betrayal before they can learn to trust—and love—again.

Comment: I got this book several months ago, if not more than 2 years, and I thought the blurb was intriguing, especially because the heroine seemed to have overcome obstacles in her past and I was curious about the path to happiness she should embark upon. This is my second book by the author.

In this story we meet Serena Ravenshaw, a woman who owns her own business but she didn't always succeed in life and is a former prostitute. Serena changed her ways when a stranger offered her all his money and she was able to leave her life as a prostitute always telling herself she would repay the man who made it possible. 
Solomon Hathaway is a man with a mission, he wants to recover some family earrings so his sister can finally marry and that leads him to Serena's establishment for she is known for her ability to help others find things. 
Although they recognize one another, they pretend they don't until the game is up. Can these two put aside old thoughts and expectations and focus on the now?

I liked this book overall. Most time I had a good time reading but to be really honest, the way things went didn't strike me as the most interesting plot I could have.
The author has talent and a voice I don't mind spending time following but with such a rich content on the character's relationship alone, the idea of having to go through so many pages of plot - and not that appealing at that - confused me and made me wish things were different.

For me, this book is worth it by the romance. The characters aren't exactly opposites attract but close to it and it was fun to see them go through the motions. What captivated me the most was how Serena, with such a past - of her own choice - could still feel the attraction to a man so different from everyone else, not only because he helped her once but for his quirky but quiet personality as well.
I wish the plot wouldn't have gotten on the way because I think the romance focused on the developing feelings and relationship alone would have been even stronger.
The ways things are, we spent too much time looking at the plot moves, including the resurfacing of some characters that, despite how intriguing they are, didn't made me feel eager to keep reading.

The plot started simple, the connection between Solomon and Serena, their life stories, all was well, then the spying sub plot came out, with it more subjects that I don't dislike but I still feel they stole too much attention from what could have been such an amazingly touching story. The way things ended, it was only a good story and I miss the lack of depth simmering between the lines.

Serena and Solomon are a good couple, I enjoyed seeing them strengthening their previous and sudden bond and how getting to know one another made them better people. I still think Serena could have been more romantic  - often some things she said or did felt more mechanic than heartfelt - and that would make the whole romance part be better. Solomon was more sensitive, not as naive as he first appears, but he does learn a lot through the story.
I liked how the author made them both deal with family members and to process knowledge. I know things can't or shouldn't be always bright and happy but the little glimpses of happiness in this book weren't enough, in my opinion. Yes, we have a HEA at the end but I hoped to have have seen more scenes with them happy, both during the plot development and at the end.
I really feel the focus wasn't in the right details or the ones that could have turned this into something amazing.

It was clever of the author to create unique characters, not the usual lot we see in historical romances, but a little less bleak and doubt and more positivism would have been a nice touch.
Also in need of improvement is the character's reactions to certain things. They're very clever and special but more determination would have solved things quicker and they would have been freed to consider more important things and not let things drag. 

All in all, it was a good effort, and interesting story but I kind of wished for more, especially in terms of character development and actions.
Grade: 7/10

Friday, July 15, 2016

Christine Feehan - Shadow Rider

Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.
While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…
With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her...


Comment: As soon as I've read a certain book in the Carpathian series that was a long time coming, I've taken the decision to not read more books by Christine Feehan. There are some books by her I've loved, but the last books didn't convince me and I struggled to go through them. This meant I only went forward with reading this one because it was the choice for my book club and maybe - don't we all always hope for magic - this book was a return to her best work and it would be amazing? After 4 or 5 chapters I knew it wouldn't be fun...

This book is the first of a new series and will certainly feature the Ferraro family. This first book presents the oldest of several siblings, Stefano Ferraro and how he recognizes the woman for him when someone from his family's neighborhood brings a unknown woman to ask for a job at a deli. The new woman seems to be struggling, her clothes aren't appropriate for the cold weather and she clearly needs help. More important than that, she is a Rider like Stefano.
Francesca is hiding from a dangerous man, she has nothing and was one step from being homeless but her friend Joanna said she could help and got her an interview at a deli. Meeting Stefano was a shock because he is everything Francesca is not, sophisticated, rich, attractive, confident... but there's a deeper connection between them. Can Francesca accept to be a part of Stefano's world?

Where to start? While I was reading, I kept thinking about things I should mention in this comment because they annoyed me to no end. It seems incredible to me how so many readers don't see the flaws in this book the way I did. Thankfully, diversity exists and everyone can have an opinion, otherwise, poor author!

Let me try to go by topics so I can convey why this book felt like such a disappointment to me.
1) The concept of the book is quite good. Strange people that can ride the shadows like if they were a special route or path only some can take. How could this influence others' lives and how did it work were things barely addressed in the story, and to me there wasn't much development about it. Sure, maybe this will become more and more important as future installments come out (as it seems to) but then why did it took around 400 pages to tell us this?

2) The heroine was first described as someone poor, in need of help and a job and overwhelmed by the new rich family she meets. She soon realizes the new people are overly protective and controlling. Sure, she's hiding from someone dangerous but would someone who's already burned just accept a stranger controlling her life, her steps, her routines? And more, not only accepting but embracing it? Not to mention the little detail but that hugely annoyed me that Francesca simply didn't ask questions, would anyone in this modern age just accept the word from a stranger, especially if she had reasons to be suspicious and not demand explanations about him, the weird behavior of others and all the apparent secrets that were being hidden from her but that affected her current daily life?

3) I know the point is to see how well matched Stefano and Francesca are and how trust is important but Stefano takes this too far, he acts as if Francesca can just assume everything about him and it has to be a positive thinking, she has to accept his ideas, behavior, knowledge, control, protection because he knows best, he does not explain things to her as he should but if she tries to leave to think about it or if she's suspicious about this or that, he immediately accuses her of running and not trusting him! How can this be considered romantic or acceptable?

There are more little things I could point out but this got to my nerves. It's repetitive, all secondary characters' POV about the Ferraro family is understandable considering the mafia-like environment, but where's the personality in everyone?
I can understand why some readers appreciate this, I don't mind if a hero wants to help and prove his superiority somehow but the relationship has to be reasonable, balanced. Both parts must act sanely and Stefano was too demanding and  at some point even told Francesca "you're never going to be independent". I don't consider me a radical feminist, but this made me angry. Francesca didn't seem to gain a backbone and despite all the right she has to want to raise children, she keeps saying she doesn't want to be a kept woman, but then easily accepts to be something like it.

The shadow business disappoint me too and even the talk about Francesca being one was almost put aside. It fit the need for her to be a mate for Stefano but then, nothing.

I'll stop now. I wanted to scream at the characters not to act like that. I know mrs Feehan said her books always will have a darker tone/setting/environment because it's the way her wok is, but everything is always too gloom and the fun or lighter moments seem mechanic actions meant to distract. I don't know, but I miss a better base and a strong, believable development.
Fans will still like it, many have, but for me...it is over.
Grade: 4/10

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rowan McBride - Want Me

Joel Beckett is blessed. He's popular with the ladies, a star on the football field, and worshiped by everyone on campus. Including Walker Cain.
Only Walker's worship has crossed the line, driving him to invoke ancient magic that binds them together in an inescapable downward spiral. Now reality is shifting, and with each new life Joel is forced to watch Walker steal away another of the blessings he'd always taken for granted.

It's never enough. Cursed blood runs hot, and with every turn of the spiral, Walker breathes the seductive words that Joel can't resist. The words that could drag them both into hell - 'Want me.'

Comment: I've had this book to read for a long time. I saw that it has been waiting in the pile and this month added it to my list of books to read. I haven't read any reviews before this so I went to it expecting something completely new but (hopefully) good.

This book is weird, it features Joel, a college athlete, popular in everything. His roomate is Walker, a thin, shorter and shyer guy who thinks himself in love with Joel. Knowing Joel wouldn't ever be willing to be with him, Walker casts a spell to ensnare Joel and make him want to be with Walker. However, the more power Walker adds to the spell, the more changes we see happen between them. In the following weeks, Walker and Joel switch places and when the book ends, Joel is the quieter and shorter one while Walker is now well proportioned and getting bigger and stronger. But will things remain as they are?

Sadly, for me at least, they did. I simply cannot understand the point of this story. So we have Walker, a guy that apparently has direct ancestry from Cain, the Biblical son who jealously murdered his own brother. So, Walker has a out-of.jail chance to turn into someone redeemed. But Walker, like all men from hi family before, decides to use his sort of time-out to put a spell on Joel, so he could want Walker above everyone and everything. Bad things come from not letting others make their decisions and in this case Joel changed but was helpless to fight the spell.
I never got to understand why the spell worked and why Joel, apart from physical attraction, even when Walker answered this. It felt so random.

The narrative is continuously changing along the guys' physical appearances. The word "life" keep being repeated and I inferred each time Walker abused the power to keep Joel under the spell, a new reality would happen the day after for them. But why was this happening and what did it mean in terms of future, would they always keep changing until Joel became a dwarf or a child? It was very confusing and lacking purpose.
The way things are told can be quite brilliant but I missed out on many things with all the shifts in scenes and even in the outcome of the intimacy between them.

I don't think I'd have to say their relationship isn't perfect or balanced. Joel never consents and it bothered me how Walker simply couldn't see this. How could one expect a HEA at the end of this book? I kept hoping to see Walker realizing how much harm he was causing Joel and how the Joel he was "improving" couldn't have real feelings for Walker, but no, he never did. At some point - I was really confused - it seemed Walker was finally seeing reason and started to feel guilty but it was already too late and as far as I could tell, things never went back to what they were. Is this supposed to mean Joel stayed like that, that he never went back to his initial appearance and aspect? If not, then what's the point? Is Walker supposed to have a pat on the back for being clever and feeling guilty and Joel just forgive him because his mind changed too and he got more sensitive? I just didn't get it.

It seems this book has a more recent edition with a sort of epilogue or extra final chapters and things improved, but sincerely I can't understand how they could ever work based on the development. Walker abused Joel and never truly fought his instincts. I don't agree with the message in this book that one can harm us and if we are good people we just forget it, where's the balance in this? I never trusted the character's feelings because they are clearly out of hand in my opinion.

One could say Joel needed to see things from a different perspective to be fair and not as arrogant but I really think the idea of losing your ability to decide on your own and to be a slave to the ideas of someone else and their desires is never a good choice and is definitely not the idea of a good romance for me. Walker and Joel had a sick relationship after all. I can try to see some interesting ideas here and there but I could not separate myself from all the negative details. It's a no good for me.
Grade: 3/10

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lisa Kleypas - Tempt Me at Twlight

Poppy Hathaway loves her unconventional family, though she longs for normalcy. Then fate leads to a meeting with Harry Rutledge, an enigmatic hotel owner and inventor with wealth, power, and a dangerous hidden life. When their flirtation compromises her own reputation, Poppy shocks everyone by accepting his proposal—only to find that her new husband offers his passion, but not his trust.
Harry was willing to do anything to win Poppy—except to open his heart. All his life, he has held the world at arm’s length…but the sharp, beguiling Poppy demands to be his wife in every way that matters. Still, as desire grows between them, an enemy lurks in the shadows. Now if Harry wants to keep Poppy by his side, he must forge a true union of body and soul, once and for all...


Comment: This is the third installment in the Hathaways series by Lisa Kleypas. I've been reading the series these past months and so far I'm impressed by it. As always, some books are better than others but overall I've been having fun reading.

In this third book we have Poppy's story. She's the middle sister and of all the Hathaways she's the one who wants more safety and monotony to her life. In order to have it, she will accept her beloved Michael's proposal and marry someone above any gossip. But one day, while at the Rutledge hotel for her third season, she finds herself trapped in a secret wall and is rescued by a gentleman who kisses her and with whom she has an interesting conversation.
Harry Rutledge is the hotel owner, he's known to be a cold person, fair but rarely amused, and he sees in Poppy not only a woman he can talk to but someone he has a strong attraction to as well. He decides she will be a good wife and goes on his way to stop her eventual marriage by any means possible. But what will she do when she finds out the truth?

Well, in reality, not much. I can't describe how annoying it was to read about Harry's actions towards stopping Poppy from marrying Michael. Sure, he only does one little thing but it's enough for Poppy to not receive an offer. In the book that has more than one justification but I still couldn't believe a hero would act such a way to prevent the heroine's happiness. Ok we can always say she wouldn't be happy anyway, but what about principles and good behavior? I admit I was not impressed by Harry in the first pages.

I was feeling rather doubtful about how he could be redeemed and the moment I closed the book down, I can't say I was truly glad he found happiness as well. I mean, he had his reasons, he didn't act terribly the more the plot went along, but he's not the type of hero I expected. He's unusual, which fits the Hathaways perfectly and we did learn interesting things about him and his past, but I kept thinking about what he did in the beginning and, despite the allusions to the era's costumes in terms of lady's behavior, I still think Poppy was to forgiving.

I like the characters in general, especially the Hathaways and their family bonds. It's so special to see how the author includes several scenes with the family or some elements of it, including Beatrix's pets, because we can glimpse more of their lives this way and obviously it brings us closer to them. I also loved to see the little fights between Leo and miss Marks, the next protagonists. I confess I'm very eager for that book. Part of the fun it to see the bond between everyone and why they support each other. They must be some of the best families in romantic fiction.

The plot doesn't have much to it. We basically need to see how far Poppy and Harry go to accept their feelings, what are they a good couple and how does their marriage affect what they think abut one another. there are one or two things added to work out as the conflict, but nothing that doesn't have a solution. The main characters' growing up in terms of managing their relationship is what truly matters here. It seemed Poppy had it easier because of her steady family in that aspect, and Harry had to accept he could and should love his wife before any other thing but that could mean he had a weak spot after all. It seemed to me the relationship was balanced in that area but Harry didn't really feel he had to apologize of answer to his previous actions. I know this is a romance and they had a HEA but what would stop him from doing something else one day in the future... That got me thinking.

In the end, I add up this book as another success by the author. Maybe it didn't impress me as much as I hoped for, but it keeps up with the positive trend of the series. I can't wait to start the next one, and I have high expectations about its development.
In the end, this was still a good story in the series.
Grade: 7/10

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - First Lady

The beautiful young widow of the President of the United States thought she was free of the White House, but circumstances have forced her back into the role of the First Lady. Not for long, however, because she's made up her mind to escape -- if only for a few days -- so she can live the life of an ordinary person. All she needs is the perfect disguise...and she's just found it. As an entire nation searches for her, the First Lady teams up with an infuriatingly secretive, quietly seductive stranger and two adorable little orphaned girls in need of a family. And all together they head out across the heartland chasing their own American Dream -- on a wild journey, adventure, and glorious rebirth.

Comment: In keeping up with my trend to read books part of series one month a book, so to speak, this month I've read book #4 in the Wynette, Texas series by author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I've been eager to read the author's books, there's something about her style that is captivating and that makes one want to read more. As escapism books, her work is amazing and it does allow for fantasies to be believable...

In this book, the central character is Cornelia "Nealy" Case, the former First Lady of the USA. Nealy is a widow and she wants some time for herself, something she so rarely had since she was a child. To have a few days of freedom, she hides from the Service Secret and disguises herself, leaving the White House as an old lady. Then she finds another disguise and finally can travel alone, on her own until she meets Mat Jorik and the two kids traveling with him. They meet because Nealy's car is stolen, as well as her money. To not give up on her days of fun, she accepts their help and travels with them in heir winnebago. What she didn't count on was falling in love with all of them...

I was fascinated by this book because I think anyone would like to have an idea of how important people like presidents live and what their days are like. It adds to interest the fact the presidents of the USA being someone with so much influence that it's just plain curiosity to imagine what would it be like to be in his shoes. Although the main character here is the First Lady, I was interested in seeing how things would develop and I was quite pleased by all the little details the author provided on previous First Ladies, the workings of the White House, how the Secret Service works...I know everything was superficial and there are many books out there that can provide more complete information but just the little details was something interesting for me, especially because it's a reality different from my own country.

As for the plot itself, it was obviously a take on the romance on the road, sort of, but it was incredible. I could empathize with Nealy and her difficulties, lack of privacy, I wouldn't want to imagine a life like that. I liked how she seemed to change by falling in love and finding people to take care of, but this is not so uncommon on romances.
Mat is an interesting character, he's a journalist, he went to the dark side and wrote for tabloids, but he regrets it and as soon as he realizes who Nealy really is he could use it but he's quite fair about the whole thing. I liked his character didn't do something irreversible in that aspect. There is some conflict between them, of course, so  the reunion can feel sweeter, but overall, there is a balance among them.
Another important character is Lucy, which will feature on her own book a few installments ahead. Lucy is a teenager and feels very responsible for her baby sister and wants to find her a home so she pushes Nealy and Mat together. But I liked her and her attempts to do the right thing for her more vulnerable sister.
All characters have some depth I feel is mostly part of the author's talent to write. They are intriguing, not perfect but we feel close to them. Yes, some of their actions feel too easy to accomplish but that's the fantasy part, real life is always tougher to go through.

The way the story is told is very addictive to read. I liked spending time with the characters, knowing what they were doing, what their interests and aims were and why certain situations mattered. Yes, some things can be considered too easy, too fictional, but part of the interest of the book is to have us think about the possibilities, the ways of how he character's lives could work out. There are some more boring moments but most time I was interested and eager to keep reading.
I'm looking for to read more books by the author.
Grade: 8/10

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tess Gerritsen - Life Support

Dr Toby Harper’s quiet night is disrupted when a severely ill man stumbles into ER. She suspects a viral brain infection. But shortly after trying to treat him, he disappears without a trace.
When a second person is admitted with the same symptoms, she starts to trace the deadly infection backwards. And begins to suspect foul play.
And that she may be on borrowed time . . .
 


Comment: I'm a fan of Tess Gerritsen. Her books always surprise me, if not for the plot itself, at least by the way they are written. Many authors might have the knowledge to give medical or crime thrillers but that doesn't mean the fictional side of things could be told in a captivating way. Thankfully, Gerritsen is a master of both.

In this book we meet doctor Toby Harper, a woman in her late 30s that has a controlled life but is getting tired of her worries and when a new case threats her position at the hospital, everything seems to go even worse from then on. But Toby can't put aside her dedication as a doctor and she tries to do what she can to help her patients.
Bu when strange things start to show and cases mix up, can Toby really get past that? And what about the threat to her own home?

I love the pace of Gerritsen's books. She gives the information in the right moments which makes everything run smoothly and with apparent ease. I'm sure she did a lot of research and had to think about how to include everything timely but it seems so effortless, so easy, like anyone could have thought about this but Gerritsen does it with her eyes closed.

The story is very interesting. I don't usual look for medical thrillers but I've read them and it's a genre I wouldn't mind reading more of. In fact, this book got me in the mood and I'll try to buy one or two  by other authors in the future. The ideas are amazing and because medicine is such a large area that can be explored, the possibilities are endless. 
I had never heard of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease before but the little details one gets as the plot moves along are intriguing and I wanted to know what would happen to the patients and why was that such an important part of the thriller part.
As usual, there are some hints about experiments that may be real or not but I was fascinated and morbidly captivated by the consequences of the disease and what would it be important for someone to use it on people or making someone have it. When the explanation comes it's shocking alright. One can't really be aware of the limits of ethics and science but is frightening things like this can be happening. Some details of the plot were so weirdly disgusting, especially when it was related to the character Molly. It's worrying if reality can have this, stuff we don't have the access to nor the knowledge if it's going on. This book reminded me of Brain by Robin Cook, a story with similar topics which impressed me a lot years ago.

As usual, the characters are greatly depicted by Gerritsen. Dr Harper is losing control, someone is after her reputation because she dared ask questions and her daily life and routines are getting out of control. It was suffocating to go through so many challenging moments along with the character. Amazing how the author can do this when her book is not on a first person narrator.
I liked the tiny bit of romance hint we got and this makes me hopeful for what we don't see after the book ends but I can always imagine and the author has given me the tool to do so.
I like the balance between medical things and the domestic side of the personal lives of the characters. We are not islands and we rarely have the luxury of just focusing on one thing at a time. Gerritsen does this perfectly.

Overall, I liked this book. I think some situations were slightly over the top and there's a certain lack of reality when it comes to some medical situations that I found difficult to ignore. I also think one or two situations were clearly too dramatic for plot purposes and didn't really offer much to the story.
I liked the main idea here, should we really want to postpone death, should we aspire for the fountain of youth? Is it really worth it and all the consequences that can come out of it? But it's a now topic, something our society can't brush aside. 
I recommend this book a lot.
Grade: 8/10