Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Athena - Heather B. Moore

Athena is book number four in the Newport Ladies Book Club series and it gives us a fantastic look into the life of Athena. Athena is the character we know the least about, so this was the book I looked forward to the most.

When asked to describer herself Athena says, "I am 32 and single." Now this is not even close to being true. Athena is a 32 year old single woman who is terrified of ending up like her mother, a woman who is completely focused on taking care of her husband and trying to marry off her daughter to a nice Greek man. That is the last thing that Athena wants to do. She has spent the last few years building her own magazine. She has spent the last many years focusing completely on her work. She has been in a semi-relationship for the last year with a photographer, but when he decides that he wants to turn their semi-romance into a full fledged romance Athena takes a giant step backwards. But to prove she is not the workaholic Karl thinks she is, she decides it is time to start branching out. On a run one morning she is enticed into a bookstore by a very handsome man named Grey, and is somehow talked into joining a book club.

This story is a great journey through the world of a single woman trying to find out who she really is. But to do that she has to come to terms with the mother who raised her and the father who tried to control the family's every move. This story truly reminds me that we are not always who we show ourselves to be on the outside. And also we really have no clue what is going on inside the marriage of those we love and hold dear. This book had me laughing, crying and hoping that love would find it's way into the heart of a lonely scared woman. Heather B. Moore has done a beautiful job bringing Athena to life.

This was supposed to be a four book series, but I have heard that four more books might be in the works. If that is true I truly look forward to those new stories finding their way into my home and heart. Thanks Ladies and keep up the great work. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Newport Ladies Book Club - Paige

Paige is a newly divorced Mormon mother of two who has fled family and friends in Utah to start a new life for her family in California. With the support of her former in-laws she tries to pick herself up and bring stability back to her children. This book is a look at the struggle of a Mormon who has had everything she has ever believed in, smashed when her husband decides to cheat on her and leave her for the "other woman."

Having moved far away from her support she realizes she can not survive this on her own. Although she does have "family," nearby, the loneliness is too much. While taking a stroll on a quiet Sunday afternoon she finds the flier for a book club. This would give her the chance to make some new friends, while taking some time for herself.

I am finding this series a very fun adventure. Even though we know generally where the story is going to go, the feelings always feel real and new. After reading the first book in the series we know that Olivia gives a box of costumes she has made to Paige for her boys. But we now hear the story from the point of the woman in need. How she feels knowing that Halloween is coming and she can't afford costumes for her kids. She does not know what she is going to do. I have felt that way before. I knew the feeling of not being in need, but living on faith.

Annette Lyon is an amazing author, and she brought a wonderful tone to this story. The last book in the series comes out in October. This last story is the one we know the least about so I am excited to read this last book.

I am currently reading SHADOWED, by Stephanie Black. I am halfway through the book and will finish it tonight. I am thoroughly engrossed. I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Within the Dark Hills - Sian Ann Bessey

I need to start this review by saying that lately I have been purchasing many books with my Kindle app. I have loved the fact that I can buy books in the middle of the night and start reading right away. I also love that I don't have to wait for shipping and handling. The problem with this is that my library is suffering, and I miss having a book in my hands. One of the great parts of holding a book is that you get to see how long a book is, and how large the print is. Because with this book I feel like I got cheated.

I was so excited to read this book. I loved how we got the in depth lesson about Welsh mining in the 1800's.  And I have to say that I LOVED the first part of this book.

We start with Annie Morgan, a young chambermaid running for her life, after being accosted by a wealthy mine owner. She runs through a terrible rain storm and runs to the only place she can think to go, the home of the town reverend. She is warmly embraced by the reverend and his wife, and is ready to collapse when the alarm sounds at the mine. At this point there is no time to rest. There is only the desire to rescue and care for those who are trapped miles below the surface.

Evan Powell is a miner who becomes buried beneath the rubble with his partner Hugh. They wiggle through their tunnel only to trip over the legs of a very young boy under a pile of rubble. Evan and Hugh dig as fast as they can and are able to pull out a young friend and fellow miner Rhodri. He is alive but unconscious. It is a great challenge for Evan and Hugh to make it to the exit, especially carrying a fellow miner.

We are walked through a harrowing rescue at the mine. Followed by a fantastic story of fear, love faith and trust. The time spent in the mine felt like you were in the mine. Sian Ann Bessey has a wonderful way with words. I truly felt the pain that Evan felt, the fear that Annie felt on a daily basis, and the terror the wives of the miners felt every time the mine alarm sounded. This is a fantastic read. I was thoroughly intrigued and entertained.

But here is my problem. The book was extremely well written until the end. It felt like just when the story started getting really good it was over. And this is the second book I read this week that left me feeling very unsatisfied. I don't know if there was a deadline approaching, or the publishers were getting anxious, but this book was over way too soon. I truly hope that in the future the story is really what matters most to all those involved in writing and publishing books.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Heirs of Southbridge - Jennie Hansen

Now I have always been a fan of Jennie Hansen, I have loved most of her books, but this book I am sorry to say is not one of her best. 

The Heirs of Southbridge begins on a Plantation in 1878. Clayton and Travis have just lost their mother and their grandfather, Desmond and father, Gavin are at war with each other. Gavin is forced to flee the plantation with only his wife's horses and his boys. But Desmond is determined to get his grandson's back and sends out wanted posters with a great reward, and the family begins a life on the run.

We then meet Lucy and her parents as their family is losing their home with no where to go. But it turns out that Lucy's father is the brother of Desmond and with no other "family," Lucy and her parents move in to the Southbridge plantation.

In 1887 we join the boys at a crossroads. After the death of another loved one the boys decide to go their separate ways. This is where her book loses steam. The book flounders between college and the plantation. We meet new characters that seem to be important, but then they are gone. There was very little character development. It seemed like she was pushed to finish the book. It could have been so much better, but it felt rushed and not thought out. I am sorry to say that I would not recommend paying full price for this book. Wait until it goes on sale!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Newport Ladies Book Club: Daisy - Josi S. Kilpack

Daisy is book number two in the Newport Ladies Book Club. If you look through my previous post's you will find my review for the first book in the series, Olivia. Book number two brings us the story of Daisy, a mother of two who is about to become an empty-nester and can't wait for that day. Daisy is literally counting down the days when she can be done being a mother. Her new husband is also excited to be entering this new stage of life. Trips, vacations, alone time just between the two of them can not sound any better to the two of them.

Daisy is not searching out a book club to join, she accidentally falls into joining the club after calling the leader of the group a serial killer. But she joins almost as a penance for the a fore mentioned slight. But join she does and finds that she does not share a lot in common with the other ladies, but reading these books does let her take some time to herself and get lost in another world. Little does she know that she will be needing that escape very soon.

I will not be revealing anything new if you have read the first book, but if not stop reading now!!

Daisy's story takes us through the ups and downs of learning that at the age of 46 she finds out she is having another baby. This is extremely disturbing to Daisy, she was almost done! She does not want this! In fact she starts complaining to God that this isn't fair. "Why are you doing this to me," Daisy screams. But with this new revelation she finds she does not have the love and support that she thought she would have, because at this revelation her new husband tells her he does not want this. He doesn't want the baby and doesn't want her anymore.

This is a great story that gives us not only a new story, but allows us a new glimpse into this ever evolving story. I love that we now get to see these women through the eyes of someone completely different. I love that the stories are all written by different authors. The writing is different, the feelings are different, the emotions are different. What a great premise. Keep up the great work!!

Book number three, the story of Paige, comes out September 2012. Paige's story is written by one of my favorite authors Annette Lyon. Keep your eyes peeled.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Delivering Hope - Jennifer Holt

Delivering Hope is a story from two different perspectives. The first tells us the story about Olivia, a woman who has been trying for two years to add a baby to her family with no luck. As an LDS woman with infertility issues this book felt like my personal journal. Every thought I had, every feeling you feel. Month after month waking up to find your period starting felt like a personal failure. This book was so true to life it felt like my life eight years ago. It was difficult to read, but also wonderful because you realize that there are other women out there who really are going through the same things you are. You are not alone.
The second part deals with Ally, an 18 year old girl who made a mistake and now had to deal with the consequences of that mistake. Alone and scared she now has to decide shat should happen with not only her life, but the life that is now growing inside her. To her there really is no choice. She was pregnant and she would now change her plans to give this baby all she had to offer. But as time goes on, her brother helps her to see that she has not done the one thing that would let her know what was best for her baby. After a truly difficult prayer session she realizes that what is best for the baby is not what she had in mind.
This is a beautiful story written by a woman who has been there. I would recommend this book to all mothers, whether you be a biological mother or not, we are all mothers. Thank you Jennifer Holt.  It felt like someone had finally told my story.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shadows of Brierly: A Far Horizon

So book number two finds Wren and Ian in New York having traveled with no idea of where to go and who to search for. All they had was a book that they new was true, and the desire to be with others who felt the same way. They have met some wonderful friends along the way who have also read the book and have joined in the desire to travel with the Brierly's. They are finally made aware that the group they are looking for are called the Mormon's, but there is such animosity involving this people they can't get anyone to tell them where they are. It takes many months to find where they are planning to go.

The end of winter comes and they are finally able to learn the location of this people they want to join, in a place called Nauvoo Illinois. This trip will not be an easy one. With a baby and a blind man, the journey is a dangerous one that will test the faith of all in the group.

Is it worth it? Has all the travel and loss really been worth just finding this group? Well when they finally get to Nauvoo, they get to stay at the home of one of the most amazing women of all time. The first days in Nauvoo are spent in the home of Emma Smith. This book is an amazing little glimpse of the love of Emma for her husband and her family. But it also shows her extreme graciousness for everyone who walks in her door.

I have never been a great historian, but one of my favorite parts of these books are the glimpse of history that I never new. The pain that the Smith family went through, the time that Emma was separated from her husband while he was away on church business, and the loneliness she must have felt. I am so grateful every day for the life we are able to lead now. It isn't until I read books dated in the 1800's that I realize how far our lives have come in just a few hundred years. Thanks Anita for helping me be grateful for the wonderful life I lead.