Friday, November 29, 2013

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

Emerald Green (Ruby Red Trilogy 3) by Kerstin Gier -- Young Adult Fantasy

Gwyneth is suffering from a broken heart. Gideon claims he led her on as part of the grand scheme of the Order. Gwyneth's best friend Lesley assures Gwyneth her heart is stronger than glass, it's like marzipan and can recover from this blow. They focus on trying to find out what the mysterious thing Gwyneth's grandfather left her is and how to find it. Gwyneth's perfect cousin Charlotte smells something in the air and tries her hardest to find out what Gwyneth is up to. Meanwhile Gideon tries to be friends with Gwynny but she won't let him. Gideon needs for Gwyneth to trust him for he has evidence that the Count's motives for closing the Circle of Blood aren't for the good of mankind. They must find out the truth together or someone will die. The plot takes a long time to start. There's way too much teen angst in the beginning and misunderstandings. The story doesn't really pick up until 3/4 of the way through the novel. I had a lot of the puzzles figured out right away and had a good idea about what the Count was up to. I thought at least Lesley would have figured out the Philosopher's Stone since they seem to have seen the Harry Potter movies. When the plot does pick up, it's let down rather quickly. There are some tense moments that are concluded in a completely bizarre manner. The ending of it all surprising me a LOT and I didn't really like it. The answer to their problems was too simple and silly and doesn't make a lot of sense given the real world setting. The conclusion is rushed and there's not much there to wrap things up. I was surprised the action of all three novels takes place over only three weeks! That seems a very short amount of time for this type of story. The epilogue was cute and I liked how it explained a character. I found characterization lacking in this novel. Gwen is only strong with Lesley's help and Gideon broods a lot. They don't really have a lot to build a relationship on. Gideon is a lot older and more sophisticated than Gwyneth who acts like a typical young teen. There's a little bit of revelation about Charlotte which is interesting but that scene is too long and pointless. The set up for it made it seem like it would be something important. I had hoped for more back story on the Count. He has a history but not much of a back story. There's only one big thing revealed about him that's a big secret and it seems like it came out of nowhere. Xemerius delivers the comic relief as does Gwyneth's younger siblings. I love Xemerius and his witty insults. We discover more about Lucy and Paul in this book too but again, I would like more back story about how they fell in love and how they felt when they left everyone and everything behind. I did enjoy this conclusion though. I stayed up past my cut off time to finish it. I had to know how everything turned out. The suspense and the surprises kept me reading but I would have liked less angst in the beginning and more story or one more novel to conclude everything. It seems like the author ran out of space to finish her story.

Sweet Tilly (Drifters and Dreamers 2) by Carolyn Brown -- Historical Romance

Sheriff Rayford Sloan is new to Hearldton, Oklahoma. It's 1917 and Hearldton is an oil boom town. Ford specializes in cleaning up boom towns removing any and all things that make it unsafe for families to live in town. He's specifically after one Matilda Jane Anderson, a suspected bootlegger. If he can take her down, the small timers will crumble. He's determined to catch her in the act of smuggling moonshine, auction off her car and farm and then drift on out of town. He doesn't count on Tilly getting under his skin or being so beautiful. He's alternately arguing with her or blushing like a school boy whenever he's around her. Tilly is not about to get caught. She knows everything her Grandma Katy taught her about making and selling moonshine. She doesn't need the money but she takes pride in her craft and enjoys the challenge. She's not about to let some two bit sheriff get to her. She intends to lead him a merry chase around the county. Tilly does not expect to be so tempted by this ornery man. Her beloved cousin Clara and her old friends are urging her to quit before she gets caught. Should she give up everything she's worked for all these years and give in to temptation and settle down or should she keep on being an independent spinster doing her own thing? I really wanted to like this novel. I liked the idea of Tilly being an outspoken spinster. She is aware that she's unconventional and full of piss and vinegar and she doesn't care.She's very modern for her day and that's the problem I have with the story. She's a little too out there. If she actually said half the things she says in the novel, she would probably not be one of the most respected citizens. She actually declares she'd like to have children but not a husband! I couldn't tell the story was set in 1917. It sounded a bit too modern and the characters weren't firmly rooted in any time or place. The romance took way too long to get to the point. They fall in love quickly but take forever to realize they are in love. The misunderstanding/crucial moment part comes too late and the rest is rushed. The book needed a better editor. There were a lot of typos and some repetition that bothered me. I believe this is considered a Christian novel. It's not preachy at all. The characters are God-loving church-going folks and one of the characters is a preacher. There's no praying except for sermons in church. There is some bad language "Hell's Belles" and other unsuitable language for a lady. There is some sexual attraction between the hero and heroine. Readers who like sizzling but clean romances will like this one. There are a couple of strong kisses and a love scene at the end. The love scene isn't graphic and fades to black after kissing and wrapping up the plot. I felt the book was OK but not great. It took me awhile to feel motivated to finish it.

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