Book Review

Book Review: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

I’ve recently been trying to expand the types of books I read. As part of this experiment, I decided to try some Nora Roberts books. I had always avoided her books because I don’t love books with lots of romance, but I ended up really liking several of her books because there are elements of other genres too. Her latest book, Come Sundown, is a novel of romantic suspense, and I really enjoyed it!

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This novel takes place on a ranch in Montana, where a woman named Alice disappeared years ago. She is assumed to have run away, but when she suddenly shows up in a disheveled state, they realize that she’s been held captive somewhere nearby for all these years. There’s a mystery here as they try to figure out who is responsible, but there’s also a lot of internal conflict as Alice has to try to cope with what has happened to her, and her family has to readjust to her sudden reappearance as well as the fear that this could happen again if they don’t find the man responsible.

I really enjoyed reading this book, although it was hard to read in some parts because of the captivity subject matter. I definitely thought this was one of Nora Robert’s darker books. There are elements of romance for some of the characters, but they definitely take a back seat to Alice’s story and journey. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys romantic suspense, and for anyone who enjoyed the book Room by Emma Donoghue (which has similar subject matter).

Book Review, Update

Book Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

One of my latest book club reads turned out to be really enchanting: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald.

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This was just a really cute, light read. It starts out with a young Swedish woman Sara who arrives in Broken Wheel, Iowa to meet her elderly pen pal only to discover that she’s just died. The people in the small town take her in and, in return, she touches and challenges each of them. There are a ton of literary references that I also enjoyed in this book – I can see a lot of myself in the bookish, reclusive Sara. This was a fast read, and I hope my book club ladies enjoy it (we won’t be discussing it until April).

There was quite a bit of romance in this novel, and it did seem incredibly contrived, but sometimes I’m in the mood for that. Still, I felt like it was worth mentioning. If you want realistic, organic character development and you want to feel like love stories are earned through genuine depictions of life and psychology, then this might not be for you. However, if you just want a happily-ever-after and aren’t terribly worried about the details getting you to that point, the romance might not bother you much.

Overall, I was really charmed by this book, and I’m glad I had occasion to read it. I’d definitely try another by this author.

 

Book Review

Book Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic

Things have been very busy for me lately between work and school and my writing projects. Normally, when this happens, I pick fluffier things for my leisure reading to help me escape for a while each day. One book that I picked up a few years ago during a similar time of life is one that has stuck with me: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

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This is a fun, feel-good romp through the world of journalism and credit card debt. Becky Bloomwood is a funny protagonist who makes lots of mistakes but feels constantly endearing. As she pursues her dreams and has to try to learn how to take care of herself, she finds happiness in unexpected places.

This book inspired a movie by the same title, but it is actually VERY different from the movie. I love them both in very different ways. The movie is actually a bit more lighthearted than the book, but I so enjoyed the tone of the book and the additional character development. Currently, there are 8 books in this series, and I really enjoyed the first 3. The later books in the series were less engaging, but I couldn’t help but continue to read them to see what would happen to Becky Bloomwood.

So, if you’re looking for a fun escape, I highly recommend giving Confessions of a Shopaholic a try.

Book Review

Book Review: The Rosie Project

As I’ve stated before, I don’t typically gravitate towards romance. However, I read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion for one of my book clubs and it was a very fun read.

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This book centers around a professor named Don Tillman who has decided that he is ready to find a wife. He is quite awkward socially since he is on the autism spectrum, and he creates very specific criteria for his ideal mate and systematically tries to find her. However, he finds himself falling for someone whimsical who doesn’t meet his criteria, and she challenges him in ways he didn’t even know he needed to be challenged.

This was an adorable romance with other fun subplots. Don is an interesting, quirky main character (kind of like Sheldon Cooper on the TV show The Big Bang Theory). Although it was an adjustment to read in his character’s perspective, the character does come across as endearing. The character of Rosie is also a perfect foil for Don, and watching their relationship progress was a lot of fun.

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who loves both romance and psychology or genetics (both of those topics play a large role in the plot and are detailed well). This was a strong debut novel, although I was disappointed in the sequel The Rosie Effect. To me, this was a perfect stand-alone.

Book Review

Book Review: Me Before You

I don’t typically read romance. There’s just something that feels too artificial in a lot of books where romance is the main point. Still, I like romance as a sub-plot if it is done well, and I was very impressed by the book Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.

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This book centers around the main character Louisa Clark who finds employment taking care of a quadriplegic man. Throughout the book, Louisa not only falls in love but discovers a lot about herself. She is challenged in many aspects of her life, and she grows a lot throughout the course of the book. I found her to be a very engaging character, and I think a lot of readers will be able to identify with parts of her character.

I do not want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say that I thought the ending was very well done. It made me feel many complicated emotions. I won’t say more because anticipating the ending was one of the best parts of this book reading experience.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this one to anyone who wants romance with much character development. It was a very fast read, and I can see it doing very well in a book club because there is a lot to discuss at the end (again, I don’t feel I can say more without giving important things away).

Book Review

Review: Stars of Fortune

With the holiday season, I have been wanting lighter things to read. The other day, I picked up a book at the library mostly because it had a beautiful cover: Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts.

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Before this book, I had never read a book by Nora Roberts except for two of her In Death series, which she writes under the pseudonym J.D. Robb. I was a bit afraid that this book would be a bit too frothy and romantic for me, but it ended up being just what I needed to chill out and relax.

This book is hard to describe because it crosses so many genres. I think it’s apt to call is a contemporary magical realism romance. There are fantasy elements, but it takes place in our current world. There is also quite a bit of romance, but I thought it was offset nicely with the plot. I certainly don’t mine romance, but I dislike when it is the primary plot and there is little else in the story. Thankfully, this one had an exciting fantastical plot and a traditional quest often found in fantasy and magical realism. Also, while this was definitely plot-heavy rather than character-focused, I did find myself really liking the character of Sasha. I felt like I could see my own insecurities in her, and I was definitely rooting for her.

In this story, 6 strangers band together to find 3 mystical stars that have fallen in order to keep them out of the hands of a dark fairy who wants to destroy the moon. As you may have guessed from that sentence, this book does require more suspension of disbelief than most that I recommend on this blog. If you love intricate character development and detailed world-building, this probably isn’t the book for you. It’s imaginative and fun but it is very fluffy and a bit shallow. Still, I really enjoyed it and I’m excited to read more of Nora Robert’s works when I’m looking for pure escapism. I think I’ve found a new guilty pleasure!

Book Review

Book Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic

Title: Confessions of a Shopaholic

Author: Sophie Kinsella (the pen name of Madeleine Wickham)

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Quick Takeaway: This is the uproariously funny chick-lit novel that inspired the movie by the same title. The book and movie are very different but are equally charming.

Who Should Read This? This is definitely targeted towards chick-lit lovers who enjoy shopping at high-end brands. There is a lot of humor and romance, and the focus is absolutely plot over character development.

Review: I think this is a wonderful frothy, fun book. I do my fair share of reading character-driven literary fiction, but sometimes, I just want to relax and read something that makes me laugh and doesn’t require a ton of thinking. I am probably biased towards liking this book due to my potential shopping addiction. I have really enjoyed this series, especially the first three books.

The main character, Becky Bloomwood, is a very endearing main character. She is flawed and often makes terrible decisions, but she is also very relatable and she is good at heart. I loved listening to her train of thought. I also really enjoyed both the romantic and friendship aspects of this book. While the scenarios are larger than life, the ultimate core of the situations and the emotions behind them are easily recognizable. Sure, Becky is a bit flaky and she sometimes doesn’t seem to have much common sense, but I still liked her and was rooting for her.

This is a really fun series. For those who have seen the movie, there are lots of differences. For one, the character is British and she is living in England. Also, some of the things that happen in the movie actually take place in book two. The main “villain” Alicia is also very different in the book, though I don’t want to give too much away.

Final Thoughts: If you are turned off by consumerism, give this one a pass. But if you are looking for something lighthearted with a hilarious main character who is really struggling to grow up, give this one a try!