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review 2017-06-22 16:33
Lord of the Far Island / Victoria Holt
Lord of the Far Island - Victoria Holt

Ellen Kellaway, orphaned at age five, was raised by wealthy cousins, but was never allowed to forget that her every advantage was owed to the charity of others. However, when the son of a powerful London family asks for her hand in marriage, her world is opened up to untold wealth and social position. She never imagined that such an unlikely dream would come true.

Despite these wonderful new developments in her life, Ellen continues to be wracked b the bad dreams that have haunted her since childhood. What is the meaning of the lifelong nightmare—the image of an unfamiliar room, a door opening and behind it a dreadful presence? Perhaps it is a message urging her to uncover the secrets of her long-lost family—the secrets of the ancient home of the Kellaways on the Far Island, off the wild coast of Cornwall.

 

***2017 Summer Lovin’ Reading List***

I think this may have been the very first romance novel that I ever read in my life, at around age 11 or 12. I remember how much I loved the book at that age and that is probably influencing my rating today.

Talk about Gothic! A heroine who is an orphan, living with distant family members as a Poor Relation? Check! Beautiful & spunky? Check! Mysterious goings-on? Check! Subtly threatening handsome man with secrets who arrives in the nick of time to save her from the horrid fate of governessing? Check! New family members who maybe aren’t as into her as she is into them? Check and double check! A second handsome and more straightforward man as a foil for the intense, dark one? Checkeroo!

I believe it was my mother who introduced me to Victoria Holt and she & I read our way through many of Holt’s novels. This was very much a nostalgia read—it reminded me of my teenage reading years and reading with Mom. I can definitely see where works like this one set my tastes in romantic fiction, leading to my current affection for paranormal romance.

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review 2017-06-22 01:58
A Doomed Love Story
The Bucket List - Emily Ruben

I am absolutely not amongst the audience for this book. I knew that from the title alone, much less the description. Still, I'd read Ruben's first book and enjoyed it and was curious about her take on this idea.

 

This is basically a take on the dying teen romance, with a splash of the Rob Reiner movie. I'm tempted to go on a rant about the whole dying teen romance idea -- <b>The Space Between Us</b>, <b>The Fault in our Stars</b>, and the like -- but I just don't have the energy. I don't get it, it seems like a highly artificial way to inflate drama. But whatever -- just because it's an overplayed idea, that doesn't mean the book can't be good.

 

Besides, the central characters in this book are 20 and 21, so by definition this is different.

 

Leah is surprised one day to find the new guy moving in next door is her old best friend that she hasn't seen for 5 years. Damon (think Ian Somerhalder) is glad to see her, but before they renew their friendship, has to warn her that he'll be dead within a year and a half. He has some sort of brain tumor (Ruben intentionally gives few details about this) that cannot be treated. Leah decides that she'll do what she can to renew their friendship in the time remaining.

 

Soon after this, the two decide that he'll write up a Bucket List and that each day, they'll cross an item off of it until it's too late. This will lead to all sorts of travel, adventure, changing of existing and/or new romantic relationships and (this isn't much of a spoiler, you can tell it'll happen from the get-go) their eventually falling in love.

 

The worst part about this book is how everything that happens to them is the best, the greatest, the ____est (or the worst). Leah and Damon live in the extremes -- they never have a normal day, a blah experience. It's just too much to handle -- a few things that are okay, a few things that aren't bad mixed in with all this would make this easier to read. Yes, you could say that given the heightened situation, everything they do is given a hint of the extreme, but still . . .

 

The tricky thing with Damon having an unnamed disease -- it's hard to have any idea how realistic this is. But a brain tumor that causes organs to decay before death, necessitating an ethically/legally-questionable euthanasia method is stretching things beyond the breaking point. Beyond that, the amount of money that these people spend is utterly unbelievable -- talk all you want about plundering no-longer-necessary college savings, it's just not something I could buy.

 

There's an element of charm to the writing -- but I don't think that this is as charming as Ruben's first book -- there's something appealing about the earnestness of her writing. But this just wasn't for me. Although he probably didn't say it, Abraham Lincoln is often quoted as reviewing a lecture by saying something like, " People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." I feel like that about this book -- if you can find a grain of salt big enough to help you swallow the unbelievable, if you can tolerate the excess of superlatives, and like a love story in the face of certain doom, this is probably a pretty entertaining book. Was it for me? Nope. But I didn't hate it and can understand why many would.

 

<i><b>Disclaimer:</b> I received this eARC from the publisher in exchange for this post -- I do appreciate the opportunity, even if it doesn't come across that way.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/06/21/the-bucket-list-by-emily-ruben
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review 2017-06-21 21:26
Death in Cyprus / M.M. Kaye
Death in Cyprus - M. M Kaye

Twenty-year-old Amanda Derrington is on an extended cruise with her uncle when she decides to make a short side trip to the sun-washed island of Cyprus. But even before the ship arrives in port, there is a suspicious death. Once the passengers reach the island, it soon becomes clear that the death was in fact an act of murder. What Amanda had meant to be a pleasant excursion quickly takes a turn for the worse in this classic novel of suspense and romance by one of our most celebrated writers.

 

***2017 Summer Lovin’ Reading List***

I love these older murder mystery/romance mash-ups written by writers like M.M. Kaye and Mary Stewart. Dating from the 1950s, they were written in an era where book heroines were more innocent (and worried about their reputations) and the social classes were more firmly entrenched.
I owned all the Kaye’s Death in … series at one point in my life and read them all multiple times. I wasn’t more than three pages into this one when I realized that I already knew who the murderer was, but I still enjoyed the reading process. The descriptions of Cyprus were beautiful and made me wish I could visit Villa Oleander and picnic in the Cyprean countryside. Kaye spent time in Cyprus as a British army wife, so no doubt was able to describe terrain that she was familiar with and obviously fond of.

Reading this now, as an older person, I realize how excruciating the effects of class are and how much personal income has become the new way to distinguish between classes (rather than whom one is related to). The characters in this novel often marry for money (George Norman and Alastair Blaine both depend on their wives’ money for their comfortable life style) and it was a foregone conclusion by their friends that it was a reasonable choice. Interestingly, it was men marrying for financial advantage, rather than the usual women in this case, perhaps Kaye pointing out that it’s a two way street.

This time around I also noticed how Persis, the American writer, is so very stereotypically American—she is loud, brash, demanding, and not the slightest bit retiring. Plus, she is attracted to British men for the same reason that many North American women are, that enticing accent. Still, she is a good friend to Amanda, our heroine, and courageous when required, so the impression is not at all negative.

An excellent nostalgia read, a great way to spend a lazy summer evening.

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text 2017-06-21 01:30
Reminder: reading lists feature

The reading list feature fo booklikes is at http://booklikes.com/apps/reading-lists or you get to it by selecting "apps" from the main menu.   Screenshot:

 

 

If you tell booklikes to add all books from the reading list, it creates a shelf named the same and adds them.   Unlike listopias on goodreads, the lists don't show on the book pages and the list creators manage (you can comment to request updates or discuss something).  No voting campaigns or paid promoters gaming the lists, yay!  Example screenshot from reading list Read Alike List for "How It Went Down" 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book :

 

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review 2017-06-16 21:42
This was good!
Bombshell (Hollywood A-List) - CD Reiss

Bombshell (Hollywood A-List) - CD Reiss 

 

This was a departure of what I'm used to with CD Reiss, but I really enjoyed it.  The drama, the overtop parents, the sex...it was like watching reality TV.  

 

I was glad that Brad got his head out of his you know what and made things right with his daughter.  I'm also glad he got to keep Cara as well.  The epilogues were adorable.  :)

 

This is supposed to be first in a series, so I'm interested on seeing where the series is headed.

 

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