Review Rendezvous: 8/18/18


Kaitlin’s Mooring by Carey V. Azzara
Book stats:
Genre(s): New adult, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 190
Publish date: July 3rd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Image result for kaitlin's mooring carey v azzaraNothing is more horrific than losing a child, nothing more joyous than the birth of one. When grief intertwines with joy, it throws the Deveau family into turmoil.

Pregnant twenty-year-old Kaitlin Deveau leaves Boston University in a hurry when Henry, her grandfather, calls from Maine with devastating news. Bereft of hope, Kaitlin’s son, Christopher, becomes a life preserver, keeping the family buoyant. Henry, now Chris’s only male role model, teaches him lessons he uses throughout life. In the end, Chris and his adopted sister, Susan, must save their parents from the fate that took his grandparents–but the outcome is uncertain.

I haven’t read many contemporaries recently, at least ones having to deal with mortality in such a large way. Some authors can tend to use death to build up shock factor instead of to enrich the story, but that is definitely not what happens here. Azzara masterfully weaves the relationships throughout the book and shows how the circumstances around them have come to change their feelings.

The only real downside was pacing. I’m so used to books that take off at 100 MPH in the first chapter that this one took a bit to get into. But once I finally sat down with enough time to take it all in, I did end up enjoying the book.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Advertisements

Review Rendezvous: 6/16/18


The Lost Heifetz and Other Stories by Michael Tabor
Book stats:
Genre(s): Contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 348
Publish date: February 15th, 2018
Purchase: Barnes & Noble

38636428A musician has a life-changing encounter in a New York record store with a mysterious old man who may have known a brilliant violinist who was presumed to have died in World War II…

The Picture of Dorian Gray is revealed to be a pure fiction by one of the characters from the novel who explains what really happened to the infamous portrait and its subject…

An aspiring writer receives a surreal and mind-bending lesson in creative writing from a pawnbroker who deals in narrative voices…

The well-ordered life of a widower in a peaceful English village is disturbed by the arrival of a wealthy new resident who needs to be taught a lesson in respect…

An art dealer and an artist meet on vacation and embark on an intense affair that is tested by their redacted lives…

These and other stories and satires, set in the US and Britain, explore the lives, relationships, and search for fulfillment of men and women from many walks of life.

I must admit, this was a bit of a new type of book for me to read. I haven’t really read any novellas or novella collections unless they were attached to a larger series that I have already read. But, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the book. I don’t have any experience to compare this one too, so I kept my expectations to myself this time.

Some would say that writing a short story is actually harder than a novel, because you have less words to squeeze the same plot points and descriptions into that a full-length novel does. But Tabor is able to weave the individual stories excellently, and you care for the characters just as much as if you’d had a whole book to get to know them.

The range of stories that this collection touches on is quite large. There’s the story of an old man who may or may not be a long-thought-dead violinist, a professional house-sitter with a few quirks of her own, and many more.

This book is great for readers who may like taking fiction in with smaller chunks. It’s easy enough to read just one short story and come back to it a bit later, so if you don’t feel like diving all the way in, this book is for you. You’ll find yourself enraptured in the characters for sure!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate. Click here to purchase books through my link and get free shipping worldwide.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 5/5/18


Speed of Life by Carol Weston
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: April 1st, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

SoLSofia wonders if 14 might be the worst possible age to lose your mom. Talking with her dad about puberty and s-e-x is super-awkward (even though he is a gynecologist). And when she wants to talk about her mom, her friends don’t know what to say and her dad gets sad.

When Sofia discovers Dear Kate, an advice columnist from Fifteen magazine, she’s grateful to have someone to confide in about everything from crushes to mourning—someone who is completely, wonderfully anonymous. It feels ideal—until Sofia’s dad introduces her to his new girlfriend, Katherine Baird, a.k.a., Dear Kate…

Even though this book deals with harsh topics, there is still a sense of childish-ness and young discovery. I ended up loving Sofia’s character, despise the occasional flaws like a bit of naivety. These moments only serve to make her character that much more developed, and I loved her for it. She doesn’t instantly get over her family’s tragedy, and the journey to healing is very well represented, coming from someone who went through a similar situation.

You’ve gotta admit, Sofia’s situation is a bit of a pickle. The person who was once an anonymous comfort is now a real life person she can interact with, and it can be difficult to deal with that, no matter who you are. There are so many topics that a girl her age needs help with, and without her mom to guide her, Sofia is at a bit of a loss.

I loved reading in this writing style, Weston has a beautiful voice in her prose. There is such a broad range of characters the simply bring her story to vivid life, matching the equally brilliant (and lovely!) cover. I was hanging on every word, and even though I am several years past this age, I still loved it and found myself enthralled.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 4/4/18


Today I have the chance to review Antipodes by Michele Bacon for her blog tour! Check out the giveaway down below.

Antipodes by Michele Bacon
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young Adult, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 288
Publish date: April 3rd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

AntipodesWhen Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.

Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?

Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.

The first thing that intrigued me about this book was the setting. If you’ve ever heard of a tiny little film series by the name of the Lord of the Rings, you have seen what it looks like. So of course I had to take a peek at a book set in such a beautiful place. And the fact that the author spent time there herself also means that she has the first person experience to weave into the book.

I will admit, the character comes off a bit snotty and entitled in the beginning. She’s focused on everything she’s lost, which is quite a bit to be fair. She’s also angling for the Ivy League acceptance, which can take a lot of work. Slowly she manages to turn things around though, and realizes life may not be all about what she’d gotten wrapped up in.

The writing style is quite lovely as well, I enjoyed the voice that Bacon uses. The contrast between current time and flashback chapters also allows for an interesting point of view. She also does very well in showing the growth of several characters, and they quickly endear themselves to you.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart

About Michele:

MicheleI was born in Trumbull County, the only square county in Ohio, where books were my favorite means of escaping an unhappy childhood. Writing was my transparent attempt to create the things I craved: big happy families, international adventures and unconditional friendship. From a young age, I was drawn to people’s stories, and I still want to know how you met your best friend or fell in love with your partner.

In high school, I embraced my inner geek and wrote my first novel. In college, there were short stories and still more novels. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in English, with concentrations in critical theory and creative writing.

Full-time work sapped my creative brain for several years, but my professional life was one of reinvention. In state government, business management consulting, and nonprofit fundraising, I adapted easily and absorbed the languages of different professions. My last paying job was as an independent fundraising consultant for nonprofit organizations. That was seven years ago.

Since then, I have been writing and traveling (and, let’s be honest, chasing down small people who don’t like to wear clothes). I’ve traveled to all 50 states and dozens of other countries, always collecting pieces of characters and ideas for stories. I recently spent a year on sabbatical in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I may have left my heart at Ilam School. Now that we’ve settled back in the States, I’m writing for adults and young adults, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and baking like a fiend. (You’d thinking baking would be the same everywhere, but it’s not. Something is different about kiwi butter.)

When an idea strikes, I scrawl sweeping plot outlines, character idiosyncrasies, and ideas for scenes on the nearest blank spot of paper. My current manuscript was born of those torn slips of paper, used envelopes, lollipop wrappers, fuel receipts and–once–that little paper bit that keeps a nursing pad sticky until it’s time to use it. My manuscripts are better than the quality of papers where they began. Promise.

Outside of writing, I am a tabletop game enthusiast, passionate skier, and lover of prime numbers. I also am a mentor at the Moving Words Writing Clinic, and a freelance copyeditor.

I live in Seattle with my husband and three growing children.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy ANTIPODES, US Only. Enter here.

ANTIPODES


I am a Book Depository affiliate. Click here to purchase books through my link and get free shipping worldwide.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 3/31/18


The House Always Wins by Brian Rouff
Book stats:
Genre(s): Paranormal, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 215
Publish date: October 10th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

THAWAnna Christiansen’s small-town life is about to go haywire. A young reporter stuck in a dead-end job, Anna falls head over heels for an interview subject, the bass player in an up-and-coming alt band. In short order, she pulls up stakes, moves to Las Vegas, gets married and pregnant, and moves into a big fixer-upper haunted by the ghost of a Sin City racketeer. That’s when she gets notice from a corrupt casino owner that he’s buying up all the properties on her street to make way for a parking lot. But Anna has poured her heart and soul into the house, and digs in hard to fight the system, not the easiest of tasks in a city where bribery, mayhem, and murder are standard operating procedures. 
Can Anna’s tough-guy ghost provide the help she needs to prevail in this dangerous cat-and-mouse game? Will Anna’s life be left in ruins? Or worse?

Stepping out of my usual bounds for a minute here. Despite the fact that I don’t read much adult fiction, I actually quite liked this. I can’t say I’ve read anything set in Vegas either, so I liked seeing a change in scenery.

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of Anna. She was a bit of a doormat and somewhat unlikeable, but I am proud to say that she did grow and change, settling into a much better persona. She’s not afraid to reach for the things life has to offer, even if that means ditching everything she’s ever known for a shockingly new start.

Her parents actually care about where she’s going, giving her new love the third degree before they even consider letting her step out of the door. But at the same time, it’s made very clear that she will leave regardless, so I applaud Anna for having a backbone. It’s that kind of thing that told me she wouldn’t take the rest of the book lying down.

Anna’s situation is the setup for every tragic backstory ever. She leaves her home because she’s in love with an up-and-coming musician. Barely a few months go by and she’s already pregnant, but in this case, her boyfriend – and soon husband – actually stays around. Of course, the moment when everything seems to fall into place is also the moment when a corrupt casino owner shows up with a notice that he’s going to buy out the properties.

There was much less paranormal involvement than I thought there would be, though there is some to a degree and it does factor into the climax. We also get several pages of the backstory of this ghost through flashback and storytelling, which was interesting but it felt like a lot of “telling” rather than “showing”. While it was interesting to read about everything the ghost went through, I feel like his involvement could’ve been expanded and information revealed more slowly, rather than all at once. Still, this book is good in its own right and I enjoyed it very much.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!