Trust and Conditioning

A brief, joking conversation on FB with a long time friend sparked a random, bunny trail of thoughts that have kept circling around in my brain since they got kicked off on that track over a week ago.  The more I keep going back to them, mulling them over, even after having talked it out a bit with Hubby, and have them still hanging around, makes me think that there is more that I need to be getting out of these thoughts. Since I haven’t quite gotten the point yet, I thought I’d toss them out here to see if it would quiet them down. Continue reading “Trust and Conditioning”

Wish Me Home: Kay Bratt

Wish Me HomeAuthor: Kay Bratt
Book Name: Wish Me Home
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Literature, Family
Rating:  Okay

3+stars

 

 

 

Blurb: A hungry, stray dog is the last thing Cara Butter needs. Stranded in Georgia with only her backpack and a few dwindling dollars, she already has too much baggage. Like her twin sister, Hana, who has broken Cara’s heart one too many times. After a lifetime of family troubles, and bouncing from one foster home to another, Cara decides to leave it all behind and strike out alone—on foot.

Cara sets off to Florida to see the home of her literary hero, Ernest Hemingway, accompanied only by Hemi, the stray dog who proves to be the perfect travel companion. But the harrowing trip takes unexpected turns as strangers become friends who make her question everything, and Cara finds that as the journey unfolds, so does her life—in ways she could never imagine.

I think I expected a lot more from this than what I got. The story was good, but almost every single important issue was resolved in a way that was pretty anticlimactic and what emotions that surrounded those issues fell apart. The ending felt rushed and a bit too neat and perfect.

I guess I was thinking this was going to be quite a bit heavier emotionally. In reality, while some of the issues brought up are heavy, the emotion that should have added weight to them just wasn’t there for me. Because I was expecting heavy and got something much softer, I was a bit disappointed and that keeps me from rating this higher.

Dear Mother: Angela Marsons

Dear MotherAuthor: Angela Marsons
Book Name: Dear Mother
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Literature, Family
Rating:  Okay

3+stars

 

 

 

Blurb: A story about three sisters brought together by the death of their cruel and abusive mother.

Alex, the youngest, is a bitter, unforgiving woman who refuses to face the events of her childhood. She hides in a bottle and destroys any chance of happiness that comes her way. Her life is spiralling dangerously out of control but she doesn’t have the strength to stop it.

Catherine, the eldest, has strived to achieve everything her mother said she would not. She has everything she ever wanted but appears to be more like her mother than she thought. One single act brings her carefully constructed world tumbling down around her.

Beth, the middle child, suffered the worst of them all. She has no memory of the cruelty and remained with their mother until she died. But eventually the memories must return.

When they are brought together as strangers, the sisters must embark on a painful journey to the past to discover themselves and each other.

But will all of them make it back safe?

This is NOT a Kim Stone book. And I don’t mean just that it isn’t a part of the series. It is not written the same and feels entirely different than any of those books. If you are a fan of those, then this may end up being a disappointment.

It’s hard not to compare this book to the Kim Stone series because they are written by the same author. I had expected a similar level of writing even though the genres were entirely different, but I didn’t get that.

For me, it just felt like something was missing. Something that added just the right element to create depth or allowed me to connect to the characters a bit better. Considering this should have been an incredibly emotional read with the subject and events in this story, I just didn’t ever really get strongly emotional with this. It felt… flat? Again, like it was missing something.

The characters felt emotionless even though they were expressing emotions in the story. Like that part just didn’t exist and they were going through the motions. Kind of like listening to someone else talk about yet another person and how that person felt about things, discussing those emotions, but not actually connecting with them.

So, even though I really enjoyed the premise of this story, I just didn’t get into it in the way I expected to.

Rituals: Cainsville, Book 5

RitualsAuthor: Kelley Armstrong
Book Name: Rituals
Series: Cainsville
Order: #5
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance
Rating:  Favorite

5+stars

 

 

 

Blurb: When Olivia Taylor-Jones found out she was not actually the adopted child of a privileged Chicago family but of a notorious pair of convicted serial killers, her life exploded. Running from the fall-out, she found a refuge in the secluded but oddly welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois, but she couldn’t resist trying to dig out the truth about her birth parents’ crimes. She began working with Gabriel Walsh, a fiendishly successful criminal lawyer who also had links to the town; their investigation soon revealed Celtic mysteries at work in Cainsville, and also entangled Olivia in a tense love triangle with the calculating Gabriel and her charming biker boyfriend, Ricky. Worse, troubling visions revealed to Olivia that the three of them were reenacting an ancient drama pitting the elders of Cainsville against the mysterious Huntsmen with Olivia as the prize.

This is the fifth and final book in the Cainsville series, so the description above is very vague, to avoid spoilers!

This is a hard one to write a review on without giving anything away. The story did it’s job of wrapping everything up with a solution for pretty much everything.

I’m giving this a full rating because the story is awesome. That said, I kind of felt like I already knew what was going to happen when it was all done. Yes, there were all kinds of directions this could have gone, but it ended how I expected it to, so this just kind of felt like confirming those thoughts. That was just a tiny bit of a let down because I didn’t feel all that surprised in the end.

Then again, I always feel a little let down when I get to the end of a series that I love because I’m just not quite ready to say goodbye to the characters.

The Favor: Megan Hart

The FavorAuthor: Megan Hart
Book Name: The Favor
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Literature/Family Drama
Rating:  Okay

3+stars

 

 

 

Blurb:

Janelle Decker has happy childhood memories of her grandma’s house, and even lived there through high school. Now she’s back with her twelve-year-old son to look after her ailing Nan, and hardly anything seems to have changed, not even the Tierney boys next door.

Gabriel Tierney, local bad boy. The twins, Michael and Andrew. After everything that happened between the four of them, Janelle is shocked that Gabe still lives in St. Mary’s. And he isn’t trying very hard to convince Janelle he’s changed from the moody teenage boy she once knew. If anything, he seems bent on making sure she has no intentions of rekindling their past.

To this day, though there might’ve been a lot of speculation about her relationship with Gabe, nobody else knows she was there in the woods that day…the day a devastating accident tore the Tierney brothers apart and drove Janelle away. But there are things that even Janelle doesn’t know, and as she and Gabe revisit their interrupted romance, she begins to uncover the truth denied to her when she ran away all those years ago.

When you get to the end of a book and you are asking yourself “What exactly just happened?” then something isn’t quite right.

As always, Megan Hart does an incredible job of creating very real, flawed, human characters. They are the best part of the book. I didn’t necessarily like who they were, but not because of the way they were written. Gabe in particular was a jerk, intentionally, but still a jerk.

What I wasn’t a fan of was the fact that you have this dramatic story that should be deeply emotional, and is to an extent, but she chose to go with a level of vagueness on some of the details towards the end when the reader should be getting answers. Sure, you can make assumptions based on what you are given, but you don’t know that those assumptions are right. You do not get any specific or even vague reasons for much of what happens in the book or why the characters interact the way they do. That vagueness shifted me from emotional towards analytical, so it looses much of its impact.

There were a couple of places where events that really should have held some significance towards resolving some of those issues for the reader, points that would have given much clarity, were glossed over and reduced down to barely a mention. I’m talking maybe a sentence or two. It felt like the book had taken all of those chapters to build this drama only to completely fizzle out to almost nothing. It was odd.

I liked the story, I just don’t like how little feeling of wrapping up lose ends or explanation and clarity were given. Normally when I finish a book I have a feeling of completion and satisfaction, even books I don’t like. With this, I just felt left wanting.

From Ashes: Heathen’s Ink, Book 3

From AshesAuthor: K.M. Neuhold
Book Name: From Ashes
Series: Heathen’s Ink
Order: #3
Genre: LGBT/Romance
Rating:  Okay

2+stars

 

 

 

Blurb: “When the broken man with scarred skin walked into Heathens, asked for a job, and showed me a sketch of a phoenix, it felt like fate.”~ Adam

It started with an anonymous post by someone who didn’t want to live anymore. I read it over and over again, unable to get it out of my mind. What if my brother Johnny had posted something like this before he’d taken his own life? Would someone have been able to save him?

I’ve been living a lie for 16 long years and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to keep it up. And when a beautiful, broken man walks into my tattoo shop asking for a second chance at life, I know I’ll never be able to turn him away.

“When I was so far down I couldn’t even see the light, a stranger reached in to save me”~ Nox
I didn’t have anything to live for, until a kind stranger pulled me back from the brink. With physical and emotional scars I have nowhere to turn now but to that same stranger who saved my life without realizing it. But as my feelings for Adam grow, will I ever be anything other than a surrogate for the brother he couldn’t save? Am I even worthy of his love?

 

For the most part, I’ve liked the other books in this series, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into this one. It has been a while so I don’t remember if the other books had editing issues, but there were quite a few throughout this whole book. They were bad enough they kept yanking me from the story. I don’t like to harp on that because no one is perfect, but some of the mistakes in here are the kind that should have easily been caught even with a rough run through kind of edit. Spelling, word tenses, incomplete thoughts, you name it, I found it.

Beyond the editing, I struggled to find these characters believable on their own. It was even harder for me to believe them together.  I just didn’t really like them that much and was never able to find an emotional attachment to either of them.

Not being a fan of this one, I don’t think I’m going to be too interested in the next one in this series when it comes out.

On Hold Frustration

My current creative project is sitting on hold at the moment. Not because I don’t want to work on it, but because I’m at a point where I cannot move forward without help. Help that I cannot stand to ask for, but this is something that I am unable to do on my own. Continue reading “On Hold Frustration”

Consolidating

Part of my recent rework here has been an effort to consolidate several of the places that I’ve been attempting to maintain across the internet. That means trying to move lots of images of my various artistic endeavors. For now, I’ve added a few galleries to my menu under Art, but I’m not certain I’m going to keep it like that. Continue reading “Consolidating”

Finding My Creative Groove Again

Until I was asked to work on the LOTR/Hobbit cake, I haven’t really done much creatively or artistically for quite some time. I just haven’t had the push or the drive to do so. The rare times I considered working on something, I found a way to talk myself out of it or to convince myself it wasn’t worth the time or the effort. Continue reading “Finding My Creative Groove Again”