Reflection: Jellicoe Road

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“It’s funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that’s why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It’s not the pain they’re getting over, it’s the love.”

I couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate quote to go along with this post. Jellicoe Road is not an easy book to read. First of all, you’ll have to figure out the story within the story and try to separate it from what’s presently going on. And this novel is an emotional  heavyweight. If you’re not ready for the onslaught of angst, you’ll never be able to appreciate it in all its glory. So yes, whenever I decide to reread this book, it’s not the pain it lends that keeps me coming back. It’s the love that won’t let me forget.

 

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[592]: The Dirt on Ninth Grave Darynda Jones

23848452 The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson, #9
E-ARC via Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 12th, 2016
Adult Fiction | Paranormal Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she’s more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn’t help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she’s lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.


At the beginning of 2015, I decided to discover some really good Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series. Charley Davidson, though well known amongst bloggers that I follow, was something I’ve always felt like a series I would not be able to enjoy. But the increasing noise from others about the books could no longer be ignored. In March, I gave in and picked up the first book. It only took one book and the rest, as they say, is history.

*** Warning: Some spoilers up ahead ***

THE DISAPPEARING ACT OF CHARLEY DAVIDSON

The end of book 8 showed how Charley lost her marbles when she had to give up their daughter for hers and the world’s sake.  She unleashed unimaginable sorrow with the choice they had to make.  She literally vanished into the thin air, to Reyes’ heartbreaking woe. Ms. Jones, at least, made sure she gave us a glimpse of where Charley ended up. So you can only imagine how anxious I was for the 9th book.

SLEEPY HOLLOW, NEW YORK

Meanwhile, Janey Doerr was found in a back alley without any memories and recollections of who she was. But with the small town spirit and the generosity of strangers, she was able to find a place to live and a job waitressing at a diner. In an honest-to-goodness Charley Davidson fashion, Janey was able to make friends left and right. There’s Cookie and her husband, Bobert; the diner owner who lets her get away with a lot of things; the handsome strangers who she seems to keep bumping into; and the few dead people who hones on her like a heat-seeking missle. Oh and there was that dead dog with the affinity to showers and a thirteen-year-old angel who propositions her any chance he gets. So maybe not remembering things about your life wasn’t so bad after all.

STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN

If you’re one of those people who have followed this series and have been feeling blasé about the last few instalments, you’re in for a treat! Reading book 9 is like starting anew. I especially enjoyed watching Janey and Reyes pussyfoot around each other. It’s like Ms. Jones gave us an alternate universe where Charley is newly discovering the hotness that is, Reyes. It is also fun to watch her discover her powers (mostly by accident) and meet all the dead people that sought her light. At the same time, I would’ve liked to see her react differently to the unsualness of meeting dead people. I thought Janey could’ve at least tried to act terrified at first because she wasn’t used to seeing them all her life.

IN RESTROSPECT

This was a wonderful instalment that shows how long series should be done. Ms. Jones was able to freshen it up without veering away from the story arch she’s started. You will laugh, you will cry and in the Reyes-Dutch fashion, it will get you hot under the collar!

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[570]: Overruled by Emma Chase

22923997 GOODREADS SUMMARY
Gallery Books | Paperback, 259 pp.
Series: The Legal Briefs, book #1
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


As a DC defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing – with his southern drawl, disarming smile and captivating green eyes – he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart and mother of his beloved ten-year old daughter. Jenny is getting married — to someone who isn’t him.

That’s definitely not part of the plan.
***

Sofia Santos is a city raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.

But when Stanton, her “friend with mind-blowing benefits” begs for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him – to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi – to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves.

Her head tells her she’s crazy…and her heart says something else entirely.
***

What happens when you mix a one stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage and a gun-toting Nana?

The Bourbon flows, passions rise and even the best laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.


It is really unfortunate that I had such an awful time reading this. I like legal drama/comedy. Sadly, the law aspect in the plot was marginal to say the least. But that’s not why I didn’t enjoy this one at all.

Friends with benefits, Sofia and Stanton has quite a good set up. In the courtroom, they are virtually unstoppable. They are fiery, and fully committed to winning their cases. In the bedroom, their drive to one-up each other retain the intensity that fuel their partnership. When Stanton receives a wedding invitation from his childhood sweetheart (and mother of his daughter), he concocts a plan to stop the wedding. His bright idea was to bring Sofia along in the hopes his ex will see exactly what she’s missing out on.

My major beef with this book is rooted in the fact that Stanton and Sofia are not the type of characters I could empathize with. Simply put, Stanton is a jerk and Sofia is a doormat. He wanted his cake and  eat it, too. He doesn’t want his ex to marry, but he doesn’t want Sofia left to her defences to fight off the advances of other males within a 5-foot radius. I didn’t like him at all. He was a spoiled, entitled man who considers himself a gift. All I really want to do was punch his junk. That’s how adverse my reaction was to this man.

Don’t think I’m forgetting about Sofia. My God, woman. The days of catering to a man’s whim over yours ended about several decades ago. Did you not get that memo? Where were you when the feminist revolution was on the rise? Gah. I’ve never been thus inclined to shake a woman. Yes, this book brought some violent (and virulent) tendencies out of me; and yes, I realize that I shouldn’t be taking this seriously. But when you staunchly believe in something, you would not be able to stop yourself from reacting. Much like I can’t help but feel how stupid Sofia was through most of this book.  The ending didn’t do anything to salve my annoyance, unfortunately. It was too little, too late at that point.

I was told the second book is way better than this one. I’m clinging to that hope. On a side note, can we talk about how tediously long that summary was?

 

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Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 159

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The First Prophet by Kay Hooper | The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


Not too bad, if I may say so myself. I did try my best to resist the bookstores this week, but I just can’t help it. I decided to pop my Kay Hooper cherry with The First Prophet. I heard her writing and stories are sort of in the same vein as Sandra Brown’s books, so definitely looking forward to reading this one. Let’s hope it’s not a series!

Have you guys seen The Song of Achilles around? Or even heard of it? Well, let me give you a little hint: son of a demigod, fierce, seemingly indestructible warrior Achilles in a sort of, kind of boy romance. Be still my heart. But I heard it doesn’t end well. *sobs* Who cares? It’s freaking Achilles! I can’t wait to devour this.

Unfortunately, my TBR has taken a beating this past week. Don’t get me wrong, I still managed to read 3 books, but they are all Sandra Brown’s books and none of which were on my planned reads. So once again, I’ve deviated from my schedule.  Gah. That woman needs to leave me alone. For realskis.

That’s it for me. I hope you had a fantastic weekend.

xoxo.

 

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[563]: Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

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Who Do You Love / Jennifer Weiner


My first crack at Jennifer Weiner went swimmingly well. I can see why she’s got a great following. There’s just something so natural about her writing that it almost felt like the reader is an invisible witness to the characters’ story. That’s how I felt while I was reading Rachel and Andy’s story that spanned over the years. Once again, I had this overwhelming dread sitting at the pit of my stomach. Much like all the other romances that I’ve read in the past, it can’t be all rainbows, roses and unicorns. I have to admit that I skipped one portion of their lives. I just couldn’t handle seeing them with other people other than themselves. Don’t let that deter you though. Spoiler alert: the ending should be sufficient enough to erase all the twinges you felt in your chest.

How they met.

Rachel was born with a congenital heart disease. Most of her young life was spent in and out of the hospital. One restless night, while she was prowling the hospital corridors undetected, she saw a boy with a broken arm. He looked sad, visibly in pain and alone. Andy was used to being left on his own. But that night, he appreciated Rachel’s company. A gentle friendship was formed; a connection that transcended time, distance, heartbreaks and tragedies.

How they fell in love.

Andy only had a stuffed toy to remember Rachel by; and Rachel only has her memories of a sad boy sitting alone in that waiting room. They met again in their teens. Before that, they had no means of communicating. On a church mission that both their schools participated in, they reconnected. And it was as if time spent apart held no meaning for the two. Andy recognized her at once, while Rachel could hardly believe what a handsome boy Andy grew up to be.  But it was during that time that Andy will realize that distance was not the only thing that was in between them.

How it all fell apart.

Years go by. They kept a long distance relationship that worked all through high school and for the better part of university. But people change. Priorities were rearranged; and the relationship that was working all of a sudden didn’t. It was during that time that Andy fully accepted that he’ll always be the bi-racial son of a single mother who’d known what it was like to be poor and to work extra hard if he wanted to stop wearing clothes handed down from his mother’s clients. Andy saw Rachel’s privileged and at times, frivolous up bringing. For a time, he was resigned to the fact that his relationship with Rachel would always just be ‘one of those things’ that just didn’t work out.

Then 9/11 happened.

How their story ends.

Read the book.


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Atria Books | August 11th, 2015 | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


 

 

 

 

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On the Night Table [28]: Giving Up and Giving In

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In the spirit of full disclosure, I suck. Like, seriously. I suck. Lol. Can you believe I had another photo session with Stand-Off and After the Red Rain again this weekend? It had me thinking about how these posts can sometimes be counter-productive. For the most part, it gives me a much needed motivation for the week. It also acts as a reminder for those review books that I’d planned to read, but didn’t get to. But other times, it also reminds me how un-fun it is to schedule my reads. So yeah, it works and it doesn’t.

August was a complete fail for my On the Night Table posts. There were several books that I didn’t get to because I got distracted by other books. Hopefully, September will be a better month.

Speaking of August, here are the books I read this past month:

  • The Closer You Come [The Original Heartbreakers, #1] by Gena Showalter
  • The One You Want [The Original Heartbreakers, #0.5] by Gena Showalter
  • The Hotter You Burn [The Original Heartbreakers, #2] by Gena Showalter
  • I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Villa America by Liza Klaussmann
  • Death and the Girl Next Door [Darklight, #1] by Darynda Jones
  • Long Change by Don Gillmor
  • Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
  • The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
  • The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis
  • Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
  • Amplified by Tara Kelly
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  • Friction by Sandra Brown
  • Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
  • The Alibi by Sandra Brown
  • Winger by Andrew Smith
  • Standoff by Sandra Brown
  • Chasing River [Burying Water, #3] by KA Tucker

It’d been a pretty fantastic month, otherwise. I hit my Goodreads goal; I’ve got some posts lined up, and I’m motivated to try and beat my 2014 Goodreads Challenge total of 188. I think I’m on pace, anyway.

Most Coveted Books in September:

25451555 24941288

 

How was your August?

 

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Happy New Year!

Happy new year

I know it’s not the New Year yet, but I thought I’d go ahead and write this post before I forget. 2014 have been so good to me and my family, and I really hope that we’ll continue to be blessed in the coming year.

I wish you all the best as well, and I’m looking forward to expanding my universe by discovering books that I normally wouldn’t read.

Goals


  • To read more of what I like, and not what I’m supposed to.
  • To write better reviews and posts.
  • To read more Indie books.
  • To cross-post my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Chapters.
  • Discover more blogs!
  • To be a kinder reviewer.
  • Remember that it’s not about the quantity of followers.
  • Read more Classics.
  • Reduce my From-the-Basement TBR pile.
  • Have fun!

Thank you for a great year, everyone! I LOVE YOU ALL.

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[462]: The Afterlife of Stars by Joseph Kertes

DSC_0706GOODREADS SUMMARY | Penguin Canada | Paperback, 288 pages | Publication Date: September 9th, 2014 | Historical Fiction | Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


 Short and sweet, this is the story of a couple of brothers who found themselves fleeing the Russian occupied Hungary. They trudged through minefields along with their family to get to the Austrian border. They planned to head to Paris, where a relative awaits them. Through equal parts humour, horror, and refreshing wonder, the brothers would discover the importance of home as they struggle to accept immeasurable losses brought on by the war.

Incongruous humour.

For some reason, I can’t seem to move away from books set at a time of great strife. There is something about it that draws me in, and if I have to look closely, I think it has to do with curiosity, mostly; and wonder  about how anyone can find hope, or would dare to dream when the world around them is literally in pieces. Though in Attila and Robert’s case, that may be easier to imagine. The boys talk about the most random things: the punitive quality of sperm as opposed to the bright, angry colour of blood. Especially when you consider that both fluid are equally important in the creation and sustenance of life. They talk about evolution; why God created things with an alarming, concise function. All the while, they are being showered by blood and falling limbs due to the land mines they were on. They witnessed their cousin gave birth on the grass and lose her life. Through these horrors, they never did show fear that readers would wonder exactly if they even have hearts, or if they simply were too young to realize the nightmare of their situations.

Sweet as candy.

Robert, the youngest, is made out to be someone effeminate instead of a prepubescent boy who fantasizes about what a girl’s lips would taste like. They treat him like a precious doll, and refer to him in the weirdest, sweetest endearment meant for a precious, little girl. Endearments such as: my one true love, my ever precious love, and my alabaster darling. These are just from his older brother. And considering that this book opened up as Robert and his grandma witnessed the hanging of 8 soldiers, it is of questionable wonder why the author would make Robert so viscerally detached from the nightmares around him.

The ramblings of a lost child?

I often got lost in the haze of Atilla’s babbles. He has an unending curiosity about the world around him. His theories and hypothesis about God and Science made me think, but it was as if the war, the deaths, the minefield were of no consequence to him.

In finem.

Funny, heartbreaking, and refreshingly honest, The Afterlife of Stars managed to inspire when there’s very little of hope to speak of, and if you wouldn’t mind reading about that kind of optimism, this would be the kind of novel to savour with a little bit of tolerance.

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