Friday, October 31, 2014

Another Murder, Another Day...

Published:  August 12th, 2013
Sleepy Hollow
By: Dax Varley
ISBN-13:  9781499785999

Katrina is still haunted by her encounter with the Headless Horseman -- the night he beckoned to her.  Now he has risen again, slashing heads and terrorizing the quiet countryside.  Her only joy during this dismal darkness comes when Ichabod Crane, a gorgeous young man from Connecticut, moves to Sleepy Hollow and their attraction turns to romance.  When the Horseman marks Ichabod as his next victim, Katrina, despite dangerous efforts to save him, sees no other choice than for them to flee.  But the Horseman awaits.  Now it's up to her to sever the horror and alter the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


       Another retelling of the original Washington Irving story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  I went into this excited, but wary, because as a retelling from the female perspective (Katrina) it was a bit of a dicey concept.  You're talking about a girl from the late 1700s.  Just how interesting could she be, without the author making her too modern for the novel to work in the context it's meant to be in?  And that kind of turned out to be the biggest problem for this particular book.  In making Katrina a strong, independent girl, with dreams that extended beyond her life in the Hollow, the author also made her home life a bit unbelievable.  She and her friend Elise are entirely unchaperoned and allowed to chase after young men like there's no tomorrow.  Elise's obsession with Ichabod and the way she is all up on him is decidedly inappropriate for the late 1700s - it would have been absolutely disgraceful in real life.
       Also, the mystery of the Headless Horseman riding again, the murders and his motive for them, was very boring once it was revealed.  You spend the entire book trying to figure out how everything ties together and then in the last few pages finding out the identity of the "Horseman" really didn't make any sense and the reason for his haunting was stupid.  It had no connection to Katrina, so it really was weird why he haunted her - he had no reason to, as she wasn't part of his revenge.  And the hinting at the original Horseman haunting her was never followed up on, which was also disappointing.  The killing of Brom Bones disappointed me too, especially after Katrina seemed to realize that he was the better choice, over Ichabod Crane anyways.  He rescues Katrina from an impossible situation and almost certain death (while Ichabod just sits back and watches it all happen!) and then oops; Sorry, he's beheaded too!  He spent most of the book seeming like an asshole, then in his last few pages he became someone I cared about.  Brom also had hella more personality than Ichabod (even if it was mostly annoyingness and sexism).
     The romance between Ichabod and Katrina was very lackluster, insta-love type stuff and his behavior is very rakish towards her for the time period.  The way they carried on was absolutely scandalous.  And no one does anything about it!  All in all, it did have some wit to it and was amusing to read at certain points.  But mostly this book was boring, with characters who acted averse to their historical time period and a badly thought-out mystery.  I would recommend that if you're looking for a Hollow retelling, that you read Crane by Stacey Rourke instead!

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

* received this book from CreateSpace, on NetGalley.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on August 12th, 2013.*

Monday, October 27, 2014

You Left Me Feeling Cold

Expected Publication:  January 27th, 2015
A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter #3)
By: Megan Shepherd
Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins
ISBN-13:  9780062128089

After killing the men who tried to steal her father's research, Juliet -- along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward -- has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors.  Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passageways, and fortune-tellers who seems to know Juliet's secrets.  Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present in within the manor's own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor's long history of scientific experimentation -- and her own intended role in it -- forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets.  And she must decide if she'll follow her father's dark footsteps or her mother's tragic ones, or whether she'll make her own.


       There are only a couple of other reviews posted for this book as of right now, but I feel like I'm the only one who was disappointed by the ending of this series, that I loved so well in the beginning.  I think the main problem for me though, is that after two books and some horrible experiences due to men trying to play God using science, Juliet still seems to not have learned ANYTHING.  In this one we go with Juliet and Co. to an estate on the Scottish moors, owned by the mysterious Elizabeth von Stein, the daughter of Juliet's late guardian - and also the last descendant of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein.  They are on the run from her father Lucy's men, after Juliet killed some people to make sure her father's work stayed unfinished and forgotten.  Elizabeth had claimed that the secrets of Frankenstein had been destroyed, but the servants at the estate are definitely not quite normal and after an incident at a bonfire celebration, she finally tells Juliet the truth about why she has been brought there - to continue the family legacy.
       We do see Juliet still struggling with her curiosity, which seems to verge on something unholy when it comes to experimental science.  Probably the part that annoyed me the most was her inability to completely quash her inner naievte when it came to the "good" that such science could do for people.  After the events of the first two books, you'd think Juliet would finally understand that some risks are just too high to be worth it and that playing God can have horrific and long-lasting consequences.  She seems to think that the greed of her curiosity is worth it though, high cost (i.e. lives) and other consequences be damned.  I did like the ending and the way that the new creation went off in search of the original Dr. Frankenstein's monster, to find someone else like him.  Also, I feel like Juliet finally gets it in the end, and won't be doing anything else monumentally stupid.  The narrative was interesting and I did enjoy the twist to the original Frankenstein tale.  But since I spent most of the novel wanting to wring Juliet's neck, I can't say it was my favorite in the series or that I was completely satisfied.

VERDICT:  3/5  Stars

**I reviewed this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication date is January 27th, 2015.**

Friday, October 24, 2014

More Like Twisted Stupidity...

Expected Publication:  January 20th, 2015
Twisted Fate
By: Norah Olson
Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN-13:  9780062272041

When Alyson meets Graham Copeland, the new boy next door, she instantly feels like he's a kindred spirit -- shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends.  It's impossible to resist having a crush on him.

As usual, her sister, Sydney, sees things differently.  In Sydney's mind, Graham's odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart.  Her gut is telling her to stay away from him, and to protect a love-struck Alyson from her own naivete.  But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too.  

And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right -- and wrong -- she is about everything.


       This book is being compared (by the Goodreads blurb at least) to the E. Lockhart book We Were Liars, and the Mara Dyers series by Michelle Hodkin.  I see NO resemblance to either of those books (which I both really enjoyed by the way) and the only way this comes even close is that it tries to be a psychological thriller.  The operative word in that sentence being "tries."  I will admit freely that I did not read this entire book.  It is less than 300 pages long, and when I was almost a 100 pages into it and absolutely NOTHING had happened yet, I decided to do something a true reader almost never does (unless they truly can't help themselves).  I skipped to the last few pages, so I could see exactly how it ended.  Boy was I glad that I didn't waste my time reading the other 200 or so pages!!!
       Basically, this book is supposedley about twin sisters.  One is a true goody-two-shoes, with the personality of a wet rag and the mental capability of a kindergartner.  The other one is emo because she skateboards and a genius because she knows a few big words.  She is a truly annoying little bitch, overusing the word 'philistine' because she thinks it's cool for some unknown reason.  A new boy moves in next door.  Graham is supposed to be a "bad" boy.  Cue the drama, right?  At least that's what the book jacket suggests.  But then at the end, I found myself reading an obituary for one girl named Sydney Alyson.  That's right, there is not a twin - she has multiple personality disorder.  What the actual FUCK???!!!  Why is this even necessary???  I just can't even abide that at all.  It is the cheapest cop out in the history of thrillers, and is just an excuse for lazy writing and shitty characters.  Yeah, next E. Lockhart my ass (I apologize if the cursing offends you, but this is one of my least favorite plot devices, by far).  I am just so over this crap.  Learn how to write and get back to me.  I just might read something else by you - anything but this book anyways.  It burned my eyeballs from my head with that "shocking revelation."  And not in a good way.

VERDICT:  0.5/5  Stars (Goodreads would only let me go down to a 1 star - it's worse than that though.  One of the worst I've ever read!)

**I reviewed this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication date is January 20th, 2015.**

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

All You Get Is This Crummy Note

Expected Publication:  January 27th, 2015
Playlist for the Dead
By: Michelle Falkoff
ISBN-13:  9780062310507

A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party.  There was a fight.  The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead.  And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam -- listen and you'll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself.  But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend's story.  And maybe have a chance to change his own.


       I can hear you all speaking to me as a reader, asking me the same question: "Why bother reading this?"  I'm sure it sounds like a rehash and one of the reviews I've read compares it to 13 Reasons Why and that's the one I was thinking of after I'd read the synopsis.  It seemed like a substitution at first glance, with the tape scavenger hunt being replaced by a paltry music playlist.  It turned out to be more than that, at least for me personally.  I thought that the relationship between Sam and Hayden was very realistically portrayed.  Your best friend is the person you think you know the best out of everyone and the one who knows YOU best.  That doesn't mean they're the person you're necessarily the nicest too, or the one you stick up for the most.  Friendship, just like every other realtionship in our lives as people, is imperfect and has the potential to be ugly.  I was glad that Falkoff didn't shy away from that in this novel.
       When we meet Sam, his best friend Hayden has just committed suicide, after a particularly disastrous encounter with his bullies (including his own brother) at a party they went to, that Hayden had convinced Sam to attend.  All Sam has now is a playlist of songs that's supposed to explain everything and a very uncomforting note.  He listens to the playlist and tries to understand, but some songs have stories behind them, while others he's never heard before.  It's basically a survivor's journey of figuring out there will never really be a satisfactory explanation for his friend's choice to die, he didn't know everything about Hayden like he thought he did, and that sometimes to move on, you have to accept the world's truths in ways you never expected.  I did feel that the secondary characters left something to be desired, especially the whole "romance" with Astrid, who was basically using Sam to play out her own revenge fantasies.  But he does learn that there is life after Hayden, which is the most important message in any book about suicide.  By no means a perfect narrative or characters, but an emotionally powerful one all the same, with a great sense of self and human nature.

VERDICT:  4/5 Stars

**I reviewed this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication date is January 27th, 2015.**

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ichabod, Ichabod Crane (Bing Crosby Singing Voice Not Included)

Published:  May 26th, 2014
Crane (The Legends Saga #1)
By: Stacey Rourke
Anchor Group Publishing
ISBN-13:  9781310506642

The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan't lessen.
If you break the curse, 
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane's disappearance.  Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster had spawned the legend living within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her.  Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?


       This book has a few really obvious grammar and spelling mistakes in it, that pulled me out of the story at very annoying junctures.  It was by no means an absolutely perfect narrative (Ireland's reactions to the revelations surrounding certain murderous events could have been deeper/more horrified/saddened).  And yet, this is probably one of the most compelling stories that I've read all year, and probably one of the best written and plotted re-tellings I've ever read!  It's a dual narrative, set in different time periods, with narrators of different genders and dispositions.  Their circumstances are different and yet their reasoning and base character are infinitely connected.  They are however two distinctively separate characters.  They are: Ichabod Crane, a reserved schoolteacher with deep loyalty to his friends, burning & passionate love for a woman he can't have and a damaged past; and Ireland Crane: a thoroughly modern young woman, who has been hurt by love in the past, has a snarky & biting sense of humor, and a deep-seated need to start over and be someone else - someone completely normal and accepted.  Both of them are drawn into the same curse, centuries apart.  It's extremely compelling, the parallels between the two of them.  Also, the rhyming from the creepy, prescient old lady (Eleanora) to Ichabod about the Horseman is awesome.  Her riddles tell you everything you need to know.  Figuring them out is the problem for the bewildered young man and his friends.  All of them are Revolutionary War vets and comrades too, which adds another depth to the three men and their bond of brotherhood, and limitless loyalty.  They are family.  I love it!
       As a re-imagining of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I was unsure what exactly to expect.  The synopsis intrigued me with it's mention of Rip Van Winkle and Washington Irving.  What connections would there be between the three men?  How would Rourke explain the curse of the Horseman to my curious reader's heart, never truly quenched by the original story, which is more of a light sketch.  I honestly can't say much without spoiling anything, except that I was enthralled!  It is a mirror image.  Ichabod and Katrina's romance, along with his quest to stop the Horseman and find out what's controlling him (and why), with Irv and Rip.  Than there's Ireland's quest to do the same thing, with only the help of Rip, who's been under a sleeping curse and is unfamiliar with everything in this new century.  Oh, and he has stress narcolepsy as a side effect!!!  This leads to some truly hilarious situations (including a policeman bringing him back to Ireland's house, after he passed out right in the middle of the main street - yikes)!  Ireland is also resisting her attraction to her hot neighbor, Noah Van Tassel, who always seems to be there when she needs him.  She's on the rebound from a breakup with the world's biggest douche bag (with a name like Brantley is it any wonder?).
       I thought there really wasn't any way to make this into a series, but I was proved wrong (thankfully, it means more books).  While Ireland and Rip DO find out a lot about her connection to the Horseman, they still don't know everything, such as who arranged for her to get a tattoo of the Hessian's symbol.  Who wants to control Ireland and by proxy, the Hessian?  And for what nefarious purposes?  With the big revelations at the end, Rip and Ireland skip town to try and find some answers to their questions.  At the end there is a scene set in Ichabod's time and we find out why Irv and Rip covered everything up - and just who forced them to and arranged Rip's sleeping curse!  We're teased with more literary figures (legends and authors alike) and we get a glimpse at the idea that there are some puppeteers behind the scenes, moving things to their advantage.  I cannot WAIT to find out what happens next!  I'm dying to read Raven and I highly recommend this to fans of supernatural things, Sleepy Hollow, and new twists on old legends.  I am definitely planning on checking out Stacey Rourke's other series and I'm in love with her sense of humor.  It has jump started me from my reading slump and is probably one of my favorite reads of the year.

VERDICT:  4.75/5 Stars

* received this book from Anchor Group Publishing, on NetGalley.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  The expected publication date is May 26th, 2014.*

Some Favorite Quotes

-  "Dinner, as friends. Where I don't expect you to pay or hold doors and you don't expect make-up or sex."
    "I'll be rude, and you'll be purposely homely. It'll be magical," Noah laughed.” (Ireland and Noah)

-  "Brom ground his teeth together, glaring down at Rip as if he were a bug that needed to be squashed under foot. "I would not ask a woman for her opinion any more than I would ask which of my steer would like to be this weekend's roast."
   "Clearly, his new age thinking is what drew Katrina to him," Rip muttered out of the corner of his mouth.”  (Brom Van Brunt & Rip Van Winkle)

-  "She is a sick woman," Mama Rosa argued, standing firm to deny him passage. "In addition to her Horseman ramblings, she also strokes her shoe like a cat, and calls it Madame Persephone. Do you think that will be of help as well?” (Mama Rosa, to Ichabod & Katrina)

-  “Just when I think you can’t get any creeper, you astounded me by reaching a whole new plateau. What did you do to yourself? You’re twitching like a meth head.” 
   “Went into the kitchen. Consumed any products that claimed to boost energy. Ate a bowl of those disgusting brown rinds.” 
   “Rinds? That’s coffee, dumb ass. You’re supposed to brew it.” Rip rambled on as if she hadn’t spoken, which—judging by his herky-jerky gestures—he might not have been aware she had. 
   “Then I drank your last three of those products involving some sort of red bovine, followed by half a dozen vials that claim to bestow energy for an allotted period of time. Every part of me tingles. Quite honestly, I think I could fly if the moment required it.” (Ireland & Rip)

-  "“You, sir,” Irv interrupted, his satchel thumping to the ground at his feet, “are just bothered you were not the first to find acceptable employ. Mostly because, as the women that keep company with you can attest, the only services you provide pay in salves and a burning sensation over the chamber pot.” 
    Rip’s brow rose in mock shock.  “How lewd a claim! Lewd … with the faintest hint of accuracy.” (Rip & Washington Irving)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1)

Published:  June 21st, 2011
Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1)
By: Melissa De La Cruz
ISBN-13:  9781401323905

The three Beauchamp women -- Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid -- live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island.  Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences.  But they are harboring a mighty secret -- they are powerful witches banned from using their magic.  Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries.  Ingrid, her bookish daughter, had the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity.  And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities.  But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret.  Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer hide their true selves.  They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople.  It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town.  When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.


       I was never intitally interested in reading this series when it first came out, especially since I quit Melissa's Blue Bloods series by book #4.  Her writing in the past had never impressed me and I didn't even care to try.  Then I checked out Season One of the Lifetime TV show, based on these books, from my library.  I got addicted to the show within just one episode (and took my younger brother right along with me :p) and decided that I should stop being ass-backwards and just give the book a shot already!  This being the first in the series, I wasn't expecting much beyond the normal fluff, world-building and character introductions.  Maybe I enjoyed it as much as I did because I was picturing the wonderfult characters from the TV show.  But I was suprised by just how much I did happen to enjoy this particular bit of fluff!
       We get to see each chapter from a different Beauchamp woman's perspective.  Therefore we get insights into the minds of Freya, Ingrid, and their mother, Joanna.  All of them are immortal witches who have been banned by a council from using their powers, after an incident in Puritan-era Salem.  We aren't told exactly what happened, but are able to gather that it was verging on catastrophic.  The ladies are happy in North Hampton, with Ingrid working at the library and having a possible romance on the horizon with the handsome police detective, Matt Noble, and Freya on the cusp of marriage to wealthy Bran Gardiner.  But something is always missing from their lives.  The pull of magic becomes too strong to resist and they start using again,  Freya starts mixing magical drinks at the bar where she works.  Ingrid starts weaving knots to help people with their problems, doing an open hour at the library when people can come to her.  And Joanna is just using magic to amuse their housekeeper's little boy, who reminds her of her own lost son, Frederick.  
     A lot of people complain that nothing really happens in this book and it is a slow burn, I will admit.  Especially since there is seemingly nothing for them to discover.  Unlike on the TV show, Ingrid and Freya are not continuously reborn/reincarnated and they know about their powers.  It's very much about the daily monotony of life and the choices the women make for their lives.  But a chain of events is set off when Freya sleeps with Bran's brother, Killian, at their engagement party.  Another chain starts when the girls start using their powers.  It all culminates in a girl's disappearance and the start of a witch hunt by people who had previously revered the Beauchamp's recently revealed powers.  The book ends in an answer to the mystery, but opens more questions with a startling mythological revelation.  Let's just say that the witches aren't necessarily witches, but something far more ancient and powerful.  I will not say anything else so as not to spoil, but while I do think the TV show is surprisingly better done, this was a quick and fun, fluffy read.  I'd recommend to those who like a bit of candy-floss now and then.

VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

Monday, October 13, 2014

Talking In Your Sleep...

Expected Publication: April 28th, 2015
The Secrets We Keep
By: Trisha Leaver
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN-13:  9780374300463

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins.  Ella has spent her high school life living in popular Maddy's shadow, but she has never been envious of Maddy.  In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When -- after a heated argument -- Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy.  Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy.  Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets.  Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options -- confess her deception, or live her sister's life.


       The premise of this kind of reminds me of a true story from a few years back, about two girls that were close friends and looked like sisters.  They were in an accident, and one of them died.  The other lost the ability to speak for awhile and was gravely injured, so she spent months being cared for by the other family, while her own family assumed she was dead.  All because she had no way to communicate her own name to them.  Probably my biggest problem with this book, is that the reasons Ella keeps the secret of who survived is ultimately selfish and to ease her own guilt.  The author makes a point to say that Ella in no way envies Maddy's popularity or "perfect" life.  But I believe on some level she must have, to be so willing to take on the mantle of that life for herself.  At first it wasn't so bad, because she legitimately didn't quite know who she was when she first woke up.  Everything was still fuzzy, which is understandable after a major car accident.
       What about the people that love her, Ella?  You have to be pretty mentally damaged and without self-esteem to believe that it's better to assume another identity and for people to think you're dead, than to tell the truth about the situation!  It's not like no one cares about Ella - her family and her friend Josh grieve for her fairly obviously.  Yet Ella, for some odd reason, has it in her head that just because everyone's relieved Maddy is alive, it means they're glad she was the one that was killed - that she's expendable, because she's unpopular.  WTF???!!!  That is why I had to DNF this book.  I sympathized with Ella's grief over losing her sister but had ZERO tolerance for/ability to emapthize with the predicament she gets herself in by assuming its easier to lie and "be" Maddy then it is to tell the truth.  In my opinion, she deserved every problem she got.  The grass is always greener and all that.  But what a selfish thing to do, by depriving everyone of their grief and taking advantage of the situation, so that she didn't have to deal with her own survivor's guilt.  What about when the truth comes out, as it always does?  How will anyone even be able to stand her then?  Just disgusted by the main character's weak willed nature.  Oh yeah, she's so brave for stealing her twin's identity.  SURE.  The true bravery comes from confronting your grief head on, and taking that bitch down.

VERDICT:  Did Not Finish Reading

***I reviewed this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication date is April 28th, 2015.**

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Frankly My Dear, I DON'T Give a Damn!

Published:  August 26th, 2008
Rhett Butler's People
By: Donald McCaig
St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN-13: 9780312945787

Rhett Butler's People fulfills the dreams of those whose imaginations have been indelibly marked by America's greatest novel, Gone With the Wind.  Here you'll meet Rhett as a boy, a free spirit who loved the marshes and tidewaters of the Low Country, and learn of the ruthlessness of Rhett's father, whose desire for control resulted in the unspeakable.

Through Rhett's eyes, you'll encounter those who shaped him in other ways: the Overseer's daughter, Belle Watling; Rosemary, Rhett's brave and determined sister; Tunis Bonneau, the son of freed slaves who understood the young Rhett like no one else; and Jack Ravanel, whose name became inextricably linked to heartbreak.  And then there's Katie Scarlett O'Hara herself -- the headstrong, passionate woman whose life is inextricably entwined with Rhett's; more like him than she cares to admit; more in love with him than either of them will ever know.....


       I mostly enjoyed this book, and thought it gave a fairly good representation of Rhett's history.  Even the first bit of it after Rhett left Scarlett felt realistic to me (I liked him raising hell with Tazewell Watling and Scarlett returning to Tara - they both rang true for me).  I didn't even mind Rosemary's relationship with Ashley Wilkes deepening past mere friendship, especially after her earlier correspondence with Melly (I loved the depth that McCaig gave Miss Melly in particular).  Where things started to devolve for me personally, was the minute Rhett sent Scarlett the Christmas present and she sent him the telegram.  It felt forced, like a way to somehow bring them back together before the book was over.  And that whole scene at the livestock auction, with Isaiah and his two goons, where Ashley and Will bust in to "handle it" and Will gets SHOT AND KILLED!!!  It was completely unnecessary!  And AS IF Suellen would just leave Tara with her kids and give it to Scarlett!!!  That whole thing made me scoff in disbelief.  Then Rhett just comes home, for seemingly NO. REASON. OTHER. THAN. THAT. GODDAMNED. TELEGRAM! (i.e. nonsensical plot device).  When he gets there, they're just together again.  Zero explanation and Rhett's money apparently saves the day, with them deciding to throw a barbecue "like the old days."  Then McCaig has the novel end with Isaiah Watling BURNING DOWN TARA!!!  Even Sherman didn't burn that freaking house, but THIS happens to IT?
       The ending just put the final nail in the coffin.  I could ignore the cheesy parallels between little Meg Haynes (Rosemary's daughter) and her cousin Bonnie Blue, and the whole thing where Rosemary ended up marrying that scoundrel Andrew Ravanel -- even when she seemed to have grown beyond such an idiotic choice.  But that ending...I don't think I can forgive that.  Unless you think you can get past my qualms, don't even bother reading it.  I actually think I preferred Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley.  I know, right?  That's not the best sequel ever either, so that ought to tell you something about this one!

VERDICT:  2/5 Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Don't Like You That Way

Published:  September 1st, 2014
The Opposite of Love
By: Sarah Lynn Scheerger
Albert Whitman Teen
ISBN-13:  9780807561324

Rose is the wild girl nobody really knows.  Chase is haunted by his past.  Both are self-proclaimed "disappointments," attracted to each other enough to let down their defenses.  When Rose's strict, adoptive parents forbid the relationship it only makes things more intense.  But Chase can't hide from his own personal demons, and Rose has secrets of her own.  After they're wrenched apart, a cryptic email arrives in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, beginning a desperate pursuit and a look back over their tumultuous romance.  Will they find each other before the night is over, or will they be torn apart forever?


       Rose has been with her parents since she was really young and they adopted her.  But she remembers her "real" mother and refuses to be the obedient, docile daughter that these people want her to be - she's going to do things her way.  Chase's father was a violent, abusive bastard.  His mother is not very maternal, to say the least, and he pretty much takes care of running their lives (and making sure his sister is taken care of).  When the two of them actually meet one another, sparks fly and trouble seems to be on the horizon.  After they are forbidden to see one another things come to a head with a mysterious email Cahse receives on Christmas Eve.  Can Chase and Rose find their way back to one another?  Or are both of their self-destructive tendencies too much to handle?
       I could not stand Rose.  She was a complete and utter, spoiled brat.  Yes, she has reasons to be upset with the strict and over-the-top way that her adoptive parents treat her all the time.  But she definitely invites it, with her completely outrageous behavior.  And yeah, it's sad that she lost her real mother, but her real mother had apparently been a down on her luck prostitute.  So, as much as she loved Rose, she had no business trying to take care of a child when she couldn't take care of herself.  Plus, it's obvious to see that her adoptive parents love her (even if I don't agree with their methods - the police?  Really?!).  Chase on the other hand, while being from the wrong side of the tracks, was a fairly sweet boy.  I didn't mind him quite so much.  I did think that him deciding to pursue Rose, who obviously was in self-destruct mode, was a dumb-ass thing to do.  Not to mention, it could ruin his life right alongside hers, which would just be a waste.  
       It's kind of hard to truly like a book though, when you feel like the author is cramming issues down your throat.  I also had a hard time with the "romance," seeing as I hate one half of the romantic couple.  Then the author had that so-called "twist" happen near the end of the book.  Really?  That's how she chooses to end this book, and make the two dumb teenagers grow up?  Cliched and overall, I've seen it so many times as a reader that it just makes me tired.  Overall, nit my cup of tea and not something I'd recommend.  I was skimming near the end, cause I just frankly didn't care.

VERDICT:  2/5  Stars

**I reviewed this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published September 1st, 2014.*