Saturday, June 29, 2013

He Belongs to Me by Theresa Rizzo

He Belongs to Me is a beautiful and moving novel about a mother's love and determination. This novel by Theresa Rizzo is moving and definitely makes me eager to find and read more of her work. I thought that she captured the crisis of losing a child very well as well as the heartache of struggling to retain the child that's left. 

Catherine begins the tale at her graduation ceremony. She is filled with pride after completing her degree and joy that now Drew can come and live with her. Drew is her young son who has been living with her parents while she finished school at Stanford. Drew spends some time with his mother and her roommate in California but when she goes to talk to her parents about him living with her full time is when she learns the horrible truth. In a moment of weakness and manipulation from her father what she thought was guardianship for a short time was really signing the rights of her son over to her parents. 

Horrified and betrayed Catherine feels like she has no one to turn to in this hour of need. With the support of her friends in California she reaches out to her estranged husband, Thomas. They had once been madly in love until one of their twins dies in his sleep and Catherine's family accuses him of murder. Torn asunder by the horror of the situation and Catherine's manipulative father, they haven't spoken in years. Until Catherine shows up on his doorstop with a strange proposal. Can they act like man and wife in an attempt to get Drew and then if Thomas wants he can walk away.

This story's over arcing story is beautiful, the two love each other so much and life just keeps forcing them apart. In the end they realize that their love can triumph over any darkness. It is so moving and beautiful how they find love again after years as they struggle with love and children and the court case. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to everyone who enjoys a touching love story!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chaperones by Megan Karasch

Chaperones is an entertaining novel about Andrea Lieberman and her journey to overcome her fears and England. The author uses great detail when describing the sights and sounds of different tourist places in England. I have been to a few of them and her descriptions brought back all the wonderful things that I too had experienced so I loved that. Megan Karasch's writing is good, her moods are evocative and the imagery is beautiful and real. Conversations flow easily and seem life like which is always a bonus!

Andrea Lieberman is the main character of this quirky novel. She was raised by parents who, though well meaning, coddled her to the point where everything causes her anxiety. At 26 years old she realizes that she has missed out on so much of life because she's just too afraid. So when offered a wonderful opportunity for a 6 month job in England she takes it. Unfortunately that's the day her boyfriend chooses to propose in a wonderfully romantic way! She regretfully says no because she knows that she has to do this on her to learn that she can stand on her own and be a real equal in a relationship.

At first she is a mess being by herself but after the boys, Harry and Rob, join her everything seems to begin to move smoother, even if at first she won't enter the church. Andrea learns that she can do things on her own as she begins to take charge of the photo shoots. Even when Robin hood falls out of the tree onto the maiden Andrea is still able to take photos and try to turn it into a success. Andrea struggles between feelings elated at her success and torn between everything that goes wrong while all her fears eat at her self confidence.

Chaperones is hilarious! It's a great story about how it's never too late to find yourself or to find what you love! It looks at all of life's little ups and downs and definitely makes you realize it's what you do when the sh*t hits the fan that really counts. Andrea is such a great character that you just want to root for her the whole time. I definitely recommend this as a great read!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley

Amity & Sorrow is a really interesting story about two children raised in a cult, their mother and their flight for freedom. It begins with Amaranth who is fleeing into the dark away from her husband, her 50 sister wives, and the horrors that lingered behind her. 4 days and nights Amaranth drove until she crashed the car and was rescued by a beaten down farmer. 

Amity and Sorrow are children who have lived their whole lives in the cult, surrounded by prayer and sister wives. Suddenly thrust into a world that confuses them, they are burdened with rules and laws that don't work in the every day world. But as they find space on the farmer's porch Amity begins to find her freedom. She begins small by breaking the rules to speak with Dust, the farmer's adopted son. Sorrow, on the other hand, can not seem to find her place in this new world where she is just like everyone else. In the cult she was the prophet's first daughter, born from his first wife, and was also the oracle. She would stand beside her father and look into the bowl of water and call out prophecies. Now in a world with no prayer, no wives, and only a broken piece of the bowl, she longs for her father and the world she knew and she will do whatever it takes to go home. 

Amaranth looks at her children and wonders were she went wrong. In the beginning they had such ideals. The religion was created with the idea that all women deserved a place where they could be safe and loved. She had been his first wife and he had been the first person to make her feel fully loved. But now years later she feels like the meaning of what they had tried to do has been lost and now, now there are hints that Sorrow might be his newest wife and that she can't allow. And so she had fled from everything familiar in the hopes of protecting her daughter who didn't want to be protected. But in getting lost Amaranth found herself.  After the farmer lets her and the girls stay on his porch she begins to find herself drawn to the this enigmatic man who continues to struggle against the dirt of Oklahoma. 

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it gave a really interesting insight as to what could start a cult and then how it can change as the people mature and change and seek things that they had never longed for before. It was entertaining to see how the girls interacted with things that we see everyday like candy and soda pop. And it even made me think much more kindly about Grapes of Wrath which is one of the few novels that I genuinely don't enjoy. 

I definitely recommend grabbing this book and reading it if you are looking for something deep and introspective! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tristis Manor by J.R. Wagner

Tristis Manor is an exciting novella that takes place in the Never Chronicles Universe. This book is reminiscent of great gothic literature. The atmosphere is haunting and grey while the characters are believable and well drawn out. I haven't read anything else by this author but after reading this story I am drawn to read the rest of of The Never Chronicles. 

The story begins with Margaret, a troubled child, who struggles between hurting herself and trying to find favour with her cold mother. Margaret's greatest joy is her father, when he is home she stops hurting herself as much, the bed wetting stops, she can find peace and act like a child. Unfortunately he is often gone for months at a time and Margaret doesn't feel that she has anyone she can turn to, not about the events that haunt her. 

Scratching her nails again and again over the wood comforts Margaret, easing her inner pain with one that she can control. Until her finger begins to swell, as infection rages through her body untreated causing her to fall into a coma. After a dream that will haunt her and change her life, Margaret awakens completely healed and stronger. 

It is this new found strength that will enable to her to protect and raise her sister after Margaret's mother turns her back on her daughter. But most importantly it is this strength that will lead her to protect herself against the cause of her nightmares. It will also allow her to begin a journey into an unknown future.

I really enjoyed this novella! Though it deals with some very dark aspects, they are sadly things that are more and more common in today's society. It was beautifully written with great language and emotion. Another great aspect of this book is that right now it's only 2 dollars on Amazon! And the best part is that all proceeds will be going to RAINN. To find out more about this great organization please go here