Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

Let’s just start by saying I am not a Woman’s Fiction type of reader. I don’t really care for strong female characters and their life-changing stories. I usually read Thrillers, Horror and anything that has to do with death and being scared. But man, this book just melted my heart and I couldn’t get enough of it.

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An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

This book on the other hand started out great, I was super excited to find out what happens to Brianna and Roger and how they are living their life, and we do get to see it, at least some of it. Most of the book is focused on John Grey and William. (Doesn't John Grey have his own series. Why is he taking over this one too.) I go to admit, I did skip quite a few chapters because I DID NOT want to read about William, I have no interest in him, so he's a grown boy and in the war, who cares. I don't that's for sure. It was really difficult to enjoy this book, I read a quickly as I could so I could move on to something else. Will not be starting Written In My Own Hearts Blood for a while, I need a break from their boring life. Diana Gabaldon  needs to focus more on the actual story and the details that matter, not the sex life of 60 year old, I don't want to know anymore what Claire's breasts look like and how Jamie likes to touch her butt. So that is all, I won't go into detail much more, because if you read this book you must have read the first one, and if you read the first one you know that the story is good, it's just the 1300+ pages that really get in the way.  Let me know how you felt about these books. And do you recommend me reading the next one soon. It's already sitting on my shelf, ready to be picked up, but I don't think I'm ready yet.

Bellagrand by Paullina Simons

I could easily say that Paullina Simons is one of my favorite authors, she did such an amazing job with The Bronze Horseman that I didn't sleep for days trying to finish all three of the books. And now with the prequels she does it again. I was really excited about this book coming out, I counted down days to its release and Amazon delivering it to my doorstep. I started immediately.

I'm going to assume that if you're reading this book, or considering it, you have read The Bronze Horseman (book one of the series). And so you know how this one ends. But the events that take it to that sad ending are even more depressing. There were many times when I just wanted to throw this book in the fire, and that's because it was so good. Simons is very good when it comes to making the characters feel real, you start caring about them as if they really existed. She gives them life, future, past and the present, we get to know them from every angle. So if you are familiar with Alexanders future you know that there is no way this book will end on a happy note. And even then I found myself hoping that it somehow would. In the House of Liberty we find out how Gina and Harry meet, and how they fall in love. "Oh to be young and in love". But in this book we see them years later, married, and happy? I don't think they are, but they are too blind to see that for themselves. The whole time I wanted to shake Gina (Jane) and tell her that she is being stupid, and to immediately divorce Harry. I don't understand why she would put up with him. She cooks, cleans, takes care of her mom, and works a bunch of jobs. All while her lazy good for nothing husband sits at home and reads about communism. He is in and out of jail for years and still she forgives him. He is her only family left. OMG!! I want to kick him so hard. This was such a good book, and I will remember it forever how it made me feel. Angry. But what it did is really made me feel for the characters, and see how all these things affected Alexander, and how we see him in the other books.

I might have to re-red the other three because now I have a different view on the whole story. Once again Paullina you did such an amazing job I don't know if anyone can top it. I will keep looking foreword to other books and the movie.

Children of Liberty by Paullina Simons

It's not what I thought this book was going to be about. Yes, it's a prequel to The Bronze Horseman trilogy, it's about how Alexanders parents met, and that's just it, it's about how they met and ended up together, but it's not about their life with each other. I hear there will be another book to tell that story.
Nonetheless it's not a bad story, just not what I was looking for. The characters are good but they still have to grow on me, I think it would be better if this was part of the next book, instead of a separate book. But I do like how we get to see them and how they grow up, in what kind of families and homes. It's a good book, if you read The Bronze Horseman then you will like this either  way.


The Ghost by Danielle Steel

The story starts off with Charles Waterston, who is going through a divorce, he is heartbroken, his wife left him for another man, and he just can't stop thinking about her and how his life just got screwed up.I actually liked this part of the book, it hit close to home. But he was getting so whiny and kept repeating the same thing over and over. If that's not enough, his firm transfers him to New York, but that is too much for him to handle. He takes leave of absence and goes skiing in Vermont for Christmas. One he arrives in the snowy town he needs a place to stay and that's when we meet a sweet elderly woman, who immediately falls in love with Charlie. (And I don't mean in love in love). They just become really close, and through her Charlie learns about Sarah Ferguson, a woman who died there two centuries before. Charles is mesmerized by this woman and her story, and to add to his luck he finds a set of diaries that she kept. By learning about Sarah and what she went through, he can finally let go of the past, and live toward the future.

That's basically what this book is about, a middle aged man finding his way back to happiness after a divorce. My mom and aunt recommended this book to me. She made it sound a lot better though than what I thought it was. Sure the story is kind of sweet and all, but I couldn't get in touch with the characters as much as I would like to. Maybe if the story didn't jump from Charlie to Sarah I would be more interested. Sarah's story is interesting enough, I would just like to skip Charles all together and find out more about her. But that's just my opinion. If you're looking for something fun and quick to read, by all means it's a good book. It just didn't do it for me. 


Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

This book is a love story, now don't get me wrong, I read a lot of love stories, and usually enjoy them, but this one just didn't do it for me. At first I was intrigued about the idea of a diary, and what type of secrets might be revealed, but as it went on I almost put the book down. The diary is for Nicholas, written by his mother Suzanne,which she started before he was even born. In it she describes how she met his father, Matt, how they fell in love, and how he has changed her life.

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The Pact by Jodi Picoult

I read this book a few years ago, but I felt like I should do a review now. I liked this book a lot, the story is really absorbing, you get lost in the book trying to figure out what really happened to Emily, if it was suicide, murder, or an accident. The story switches between Chris at court in the present time, trying to explain what happened, and Emily before she died. One piece at a time you get to put the puzzle together and find out the truth. This is the first Jodi Picoult book I read, so I didn't know what to expect from her, and I guess the book could have been a little better. More character development would be great, especially about Emily and the parents. It seemed like the book was more centered around Chris telling his side of the story and we just get pieces of Emily. Which seem to make her look self-centered, almost selfish. we never really get to know her enough to find out what she was like. I think their relationship was supposed to be very mature, but it looks like Chris is more mature than Emily, in some ways.  Overall the book is good, it still manages to get you involved and interested despite it lacking in some areas. I would still recommend it.

Much Ado About Loving by Jack Murnighan and Maura Kelly

I won this book on giveaway and I enjoyed reading it. Although I'm skipping the chapters about books I haven't read yet, I don't want them ruining the books for me before I read them. But the ones that I did read have some funny advice and look a little deeper at the characters of the books.

This book goes further into the main character of a book to try and teach the reader about love. And how either under different circumstances or in reality most love stories wouldn't work out. And that we shouldn't base our love lives according to books. There's no perfect prince charming that's going to ride in on a white horse. I think it's a great way for readers to get a different perspective on their favorite books.  It's a great book for people still looking for love, on the other hand if you are in a relationship like I am, this book might just have you second guessing you loved one. And sometimes that's just not a good thing. 

Drums Of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

This is the fourth book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. And while I loved the first three this one dragged throughout most of the first half. Then we get some great action, and then it slowly fizzles out again. I don't know, maybe it's because I don't care for Brianna that much. But her story is just not as compelling as Claires. I felt like she was getting in the way some of the time. The characters pretty much stay the same from the third book, there are a few more, but noting exciting really happens. It didn't keep me glued to the book like the others did. I still read it pretty quickly, but I think that was because I kept hoping something will happen. Also Roger is really bugging me. He's like a fish out of water, just doesn't seem to fit into the story. When I first met Roger I never expected to dislike him that much. Hopefully he redeems himself in the next books.

So the story goes like this. Claire and Jamie end up in the colonies after their adventurous voyage, here they try to start a new life, while Brianna is left in Boston all alone. And while all alone she keeps searching for her parents wanting to find out if they are still alive, if Claire has made it back to Jamie. She ends up stumbling on some information that sends her back to the stone circle, in the effort to try to change history she meets dangers and heartbreaking events that alter her own life forever. Overall the book wasn't bad, I guess you can't put that many events into a persons life before it really becomes fake. And I guess that's what Diana was trying to achieve, just to show us the normal day to day life of Jamie and Claire. Nothing special. Still good though, and I will recommend it if you read the previous ones. 

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon really knows how to tell a good story, her attention to detail and character development are amazing. This book is the third in the Outlander series.I wasn't sure how she was going to pull off having a 20 year separation between Claire and Jamie, but she did a great job. You do get to know what happened with each of them during those long years. And anticipate the reunion. Lots of shocking secrets are revealed and when Laoghaire makes an appearance I wanted to scream at the book. We also meet a chinaman and get to know Roger and Brianna more and I think this is where Lord John makes his official arrival into the series. (By the way Lord John has his own series by Diana Gabaldon) The first half of the book ties all the loose knots, but the second half is spent on a voyage to save young Ian who was kidnapped (I think by pirates). And that's really where the actions starts, but I personally preferred getting to know what they were up to for those 20 years. If you fell like it startes dragging when they are on the ship, don't worry and just keep reading, the ending picks up with some twists and turns.Dianas' characters really come to life, and like I've said before, she makes you feel like you're part of the book and not just reading it. I couldn't put it down, I literally carried it with me room to room around the house. I can't recommend this series enough. I just looooove it. Hopefully it will continue to rock my socks off. There are quite a few more to go. 

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

"With her now-classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters — Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser—delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful follow-up to Outlander....
For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ... about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ... and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his....
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ... in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves...."

Despite all the romance that goes on in this book, it's really a historical fiction, the reader gets to explore 18th century Scotland, from the  King Louis XV of France to the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 in which Bonnie Prince Charlie unsuccessfully tries to reclaim the throne of Scotland and England. And not only that, we also get to know the lives of regular people as well, down to the workings of hospitals and medicine at that time. Which in itself is amazing, how without modern medicine Claire is healing people with plants and herbs. I felt like I was learning a lot. There are also a lot of twist and turns as we discover more ancestors and how many of the characters seem to connect with one another. But aside from all the history in this book, it still focuses on Claire and Jamie's love. We see them grow more and more toward each other in a realistic way. And it makes us feel like we're in this relationship too. Not just reading about it, but that is mostly through the massive amounts of research Gabaldon did for these books. And you will definitely not be disappointed with the humor, sometimes I would have to stop reading because I was laughing so much. She has found that special way of making the characters feel normal, and real. Like we're in the same room with everyone, you can clearly imagine what everyone is doing, wearing and the facial expressions they make. It really makes you fall in love with all the characters of this book.  Jamie has a strong male role, he's the hunky Scot who protects Claire at every step, who is not afraid to die for what he believes in, and he will take unexpected risks for his own reasons. But don't think that Claire is a girly girl. She is a strong woman too. And stubborn just as much as Jamie. She is healing people left and right, which results in it's own problems. Yet they are so down to earth, you can't help but love them. So I'm recommending this book to everyone. Especially if you read the Outlander, it does not loos any of it's charm.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This book is amazing, so many historical details about Scotland that I had no idea ever existed. And the story is something else, there is love, loss, war, romance, lots of sex ( so I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers), imprisonment, family, and of course time travel. It makes you feel for the characters as they face what is in front of them, many times they risk everything, and that's what makes this story feel so real. At the beginning I was kind of hesitant about this book being all that great, but as I kept reading I kept wanting more. I couldn't get enough. Clairs life has really taken a 180º turn, but is it for the better? I think so. And I guess I'll find out more as I read more of the series. Yes people this is just the first book. The are seven! And I have already started on the second. 
I found this book through other peoples reviews of The Bronze Horseman, which is another great great book. A lot of readers said they were looking for something similar in nature to TBH and this is it. So without hesitation, really, I ordered the whole series. And good thing I did, after finishing this one I wouldn't be able to wait for the next book. 
And there is even talk of a series based on this book. Lets hope it goes through.

Secret Life of Bees MOVIE

So I watched the movie "The Secret Life of Bees" and I gotta say it's really good, follows the book really closely. And I found myself feeling kind of sorry for the dad, I know in the book he is represented as this evil person who tortures his daughter, but in the move they kinda made it look different. I sort of understood where all the anger came from, going from being madly in love and then your wife leaves you. And then she dies. And then your daughter leaves you. That's a lot to take in. Well I know some of you might not agree completely with me but that's just my opinion.  Overall the movie is really great, and they picked really great actors too.
Check out the book review here.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

This book was great, I read it in two days, it really holds your interest throughout the whole book. The story is about a young girl Lily Owens whose father T. Ray (what she calls him) is abusive and neglectful. She has never heard him say he loved her, or anything that resembled feelings. Unless they were anger, he would punish her by having her kneel on grits. Her mother died in a "gun accident" when Lily was only four years old. Leaving her with her father and nanny/housekeeper Rosaleen, who in part is a stand in for her mother. But when Rosaleen gets arrested for insulting three racists, Lily decides this would be a good time to leave to Tiburon, South Carolina, a town she believes to be connected to her mother. She and Rosaleen find refuge with three beekeeping sisters, who in turn introduce Lily to a mesmerizing life of bees, honey and black Madonnas. This story is all about female empowerment, love and forgiveness.

This story will definitely have an effect on anyone who reads it. It teaches powerful lessons, especially to young girls who are struggling with a hard life. Sue Monk Kidd did a great job capturing every detail of the Pink House, Lily's life as well as all the other characters, I kept thinking that this is a memoir, but even though it's not, it still feels real.

I gave this book three stars, but I can definitely see why it deserves five. This is just not my favorite style of reading, but it's still great, and everyone should read it. I wonder is they read this book in schools.

And I just found out there's a movie. How great is that. After I watch it I'll post my review of that also.

90 Minutes In Heaven by Don Piper

Ok, so the message of the book is great for anyone who is a believer in God, also might make some believe in God, but the writing not that great. I understand that Don is telling his story as it happened, but he repeats himself over and over. By the middle I was frustrated with him telling me how he realized he was taken to heaven and then back to earth to teach and inspire others over and over. I get it. But I pushed through and finished it.

The events and all that he went through are inspiring, maybe a little more for people who went through something traumatic, for others maybe not so much. I'm not saying don't believe what he experienced isn't true, but it doesn't hit the spot for people who haven't been through something life changing. And I won't discuss any more due to religion, and offending someone. Read it and you'll find out. Overall it was a good book, and teaches you to not take life for granted and love others, and that if you believe you can do anything.

The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

This book is a sequal to The Notebook, Wilson is married to Noah and Allies daugher, Noah is a creekside, where he and Alle moved to once her memory started to get worse. Noah is still the same as ever, big romantic with The Leaves of Grass always by his side and a new friend by the pond.

After forgetting his 29th wedding anniversary Wilson is convinced his wife Jane is not in love with him, and with the romance gone from their relationship they seem to have drifted apart, especially since their kids moved out of the house. And with their daughters wedding being planned in just 10 days, he is desperate. Wilson tries to rekindle that fire that has died down over the years. And even with Noah, the romantic, he still has a hard time expressing this true feelings through words. He doesn't know how to tell his wife he loves her. Even though he knows his love has only grown over the years. Now he has to find a way to win her back. This book is exactly what you would expect from Nicholas Sparks, easy to read, romantic, makes you wish you were part of the book, and a great surprise ending. It almost made me cry, and I'm not much of a crier, but I did smile like an idiot, so happy for the ending. I wonder if this will be a movie too.

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

There really isn't anything special about this book, it follows the lives of 3 couples whose friends die in a boating accident or so they think. They go through the grief and then start to question their relationships with each other as well as with the friends who died. I don't know what to think, it's all jumbled up, it's a good story but there is so much going on, you get to read different chapter from each persons point of view, and not only that you get flash backs and many of them. It was hard to focus on what was happening at the current moment. Basically they all have different reasons to be sad or rethink their life, and the decisions they have made. So if you want an easy fast read go for it but it's not something to really think hard about.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I loved this book, the characters are very believable and their personalities are witty and funny, at least on the Bennet side. Mrs. Bennet is obnoxious enough to make you laugh, and she dramatizes every little thing. Mr. Bennet on the other side is more collected and likes to poke fun at his wife, in a discrete way. The Bennet sisters are all over the place. Elizabeth, although not the oldest seems to have her life figured out. She is the most sensible and intelligent of all her sisters. She likes to speak her mind and doesn't care what others think of her. Jane the eldest, said to be the beautiful one, is more reserved than the rest. Mary Bennet is the third daughter, she is best described as a bookworm. Lydia and Catherine are both gossipy, immature and care only about their selves, when they aren't chasing boys.
The story mostly revolves around Elizabeth, and how her quick judgements of others are proven wrong. 
The story starts out with a rumor that a wealthy gentleman, Charles Bingley is moving into Netherfield Park, it causes Mrs. Bennet to overreact with hopes to marry one of her daughters off to the new resident. After they are acquainted with their new neighbor, they are introduced to his friend Mr. Darcy, who at first impression is stuck up, arrogant and rude. Which makes Mrs. Bennet even more anxious. Elizabeth on the other hand is not interested in the man who doesn't seem to be interested in anyone besides himself. She soon finds out that his Pride and her Prejudice against him have more in common than she thought. 
The book is a perfect example of a classical story, told with perfect suspense. I'd say it's a classic comedy about teenage love. Sometimes you forget it was set in the 19th century. 
The 2009 movie is pretty good, and follows the book to a good degree, although I didn't see any of the other versions. But when I watched "Becoming Jane", which is supposed to be about Jane Austen, I couldn't help but think either someone based Pride and Prejudice on her life or vice versa. 

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

This book was great, really easy to read. Maybe too easy, there wasn't a lot of description in setting and characters, but the story came across beautifully. I wouldn't say I loved it —the movie was much better— but I did like it enough to give it 5 stars. My opinion might have been clouded by the fact that I already saw the movie 5 times.

This story is about two teenagers, one rich one poor, who fall in love one summer only to be separated for 15 years. When they meet again the love they had is stronger then ever. And that's pretty much all there is to it, if I give out more I feel like I'm telling the whole story again. It's really fast paced, you will read it in one sitting. Some say it's not worth all the hype but I think Nicholas Sparks meant for it to be this way. They way life flies by when we are in love is just as quick as the story. Sure the movie added some things that weren't in the book but it didn't go away from the main idea. That even teenagers can fall in love, no matter what the circumstances. And are able to survive it all.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

My first Jane Austen book, and I gotta say it was a little difficult to get used to her writing, all those proper words. I found that it was easier to do a little bit of an english accent. But it was really good, my opinion is a little ruined because I saw the movie before, and kept picturing the actors instead of paying attention to how Jane wanted me to imagine the characters. The story itself was good. Very easy to understand and follow.  It's about sisters, and falling in love, and how sometimes even though we put our hearts into something, it doesn't always work out the way we hoped it would.
We get to experience the heartbreak of two young girls, sisters and how that heart slowly begins to love again. It a good book for teenagers, and I will highly recommend it to any girl looking for an easy light romance read. Plus it's a classic Jane Austen, you can't get better then that. I will be reading all her novels really soon.