Review: Plan Interrupted by Valerie Clarizio

Welcome to another week and another great book.  I am happy to share with you a new book by Valerie Clarizio.  This is a wonderful love story with a hint of suspense.  For my full review keep reading after the book blurb.  Have a wonderful week ahead!

26986776Book Blurb:

Elizabeth Shaw’s professional life is going according to plan until she meets the handsome widower and his two young children next door. Having shelved her personal life to land her dream job, she disregards her romantic feelings for him. But the forces of nature have other ideas for her.

Joe Antonetti has made his children his main focus since the death of his wife. But his beautiful neighbor becomes an irresistible distraction and has him wondering if he can change her priorities.

Surrendering to their attraction for each other causes another player to step in with his own plan for Elizabeth. One that could not only end the budding romance but her life as well.

Review:

Elizabeth has a plan.  Her life plan is streamlined and focused solely on her career.  But, when she meets her neighbor and his children things begin to change.  What she once wanted now seems to be less important, but when the unspeakable happens and she is stalked by that person she must decide what is really important.  Should she stick the plan at all costs or just go with what life has in store for her?

I really enjoyed this book.  Elizabeth is a very strong but flawed character.  She hides behind her plan so that she doesn’t have to face the harsh world.  Unfortunately, the harshness finds her and she is forced to face things she never planned for.  Woven into this is a sweet love story.  Not just a story about a man and a woman but her love for his children also.  With the great romance and suspense expertly woven together any reader will find it difficult putting this book down until the last page is turned.  If I wasn’t already a fan of Valerie Clarizio, I would be one after reading this book.

Review: Breathing Ghosts by Laeken Zea Kemp

Day Two of my two-week review fest.  Today I am reviewing a very unique but relatable young adult book. Breathing Ghosts is a great change of pace in a genre that has an abundance of paranormal books.  This is not just a paranormal book.  Its more about dealing with loss and moving on with your life.  But our main character does see his ghost more than once.   It is emotionally powerful but sadly in the end it does fall a bit short from what I would desire.  For my full review be sure to keep reading after the book blurb.   Don’t forget about my big giveaway.  Jump over to my celebration post and enter the rafflecopter if you haven’t already.

18588758Book Blurb:

She is a winding cosmos, bleeding and bursting into night. She is a dream. She is dead.

River has just lost the one thing that matters most to him—Nia—and all she’s left behind is a pile of scribbled love notes detailing their past and a pin-holed map planning out their future. Hopes and dreams confined to one dimension now that she’s gone and River’s too afraid to leave his hometown, crippled by the same anxiety that’s plagued his mother for as long as he can remember.

But after a strange encounter with the only girl he ever loved a week after laying her to rest, River, armed with nothing but her map and his memories, decides to finally leave and never look back. And with the help of a pair of eccentrically named siblings as well as a mutt with three legs, he sets out to do the very thing Nia always knew how to do better than he ever could—live.

From the moonlit beaches off of Florida’s east coast, to the forests of Mississippi, to Bourbon Street, Cadillac Ranch, and the Arizona desert, River is faced with not only Nia’s ghost but his own and he learns that in life there are no accidents, only miracles.

Review:

River is at a loss after losing the one person who meant everything to him, his girlfriend Nia.  He grieves alone since his abusive home life is not one anyone would want to go home to.  It isn’t long after Nia’s funeral that Nia’s sister gives River many of Nia’s possessions and within those possessions is the map.  The map was Nia’s plan for her and River to escape their lives in Florida.  River decides to take off and steal his stepfather’s truck.  In doing so he attracts the attention of skinheads, police and eventually twins that are trying to escape their own lives.  When the twins won’t leave River the threesome try to decipher Nia’s map and what she wanted River to do.  Along the way River sees Nia’s ghost and he feels like he is chasing her.  Through this journey River learns more about himself and what he must do to live.  Even though he doesn’t want to live without Nia he begins to find reasons why living no matter what is what Nia really wanted from River.

Overall, this is an emotional ride that has both is comical and suspenseful parts.  The character of River really is fairly the same through the book until he finally comes to realize what the whole journey has been about.  I love the twins, June and Carter.  Though they had their own issues they were fun and I think they were just what River needed at the time.  I think the biggest character in this book is the landscape.  The obscure places the three of them go and how they manage to get there.  I did feel that the story was a little lacking in the development part though.  I really felt that the characters were static until the very end.  In the end it kind of just stops.  There isn’t really any kind of conclusion or wrap up.  It does make you think there may be another book but even so the ending kinda made me feel unsatisfied and nothing was answered.  I liked the build up and the premise of the story, but I think with the lack of real character development it left the story a little flat.  Overall, it was a decent story and I would try a second book if this is supposed to be a series but I would want to see a lot more if this were to become a series I followed.

The Ties that Bind

I was reminded today about the book 5 People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.  This book was thrust back into the front of my mind when I was reading a twitter thread #IfIDiedTomorrow.  The whole purpose of that thread was to put out there what you want remembered about yourself.  I began thinking about what I would post on this thread.  I drew a blank.  Then what came flooding into my mind was watching my father pass away in the hospital and immediately the book I read while sitting with him popped into my head.  I thought how strange that I was reading a book about death and the afterlife as I was watching someone close to me about to take that journey.

Thinking back on that book and re-reading it always hurdles me right back into the time when I was sitting in that hospital room just waiting.  I can still hear the dull sounds outside the room. Smell the hospital antiseptic that is always used.  I see my dad, who was dying of cancer at the time, only a shell of the man I knew.  All of these vivid memories connected to one book.  So, I began to wonder how many other books I could connect to such vivid memories.  I was surprised with how many different books supported and comforted me through sad and happy times like they were old friends.

J.R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood popped into my mind immediately.  I started reading these books when I was 8 months pregnant.  I still remember laying in bed reading and feeling my little guy moving in my tummy.  Reading them when I was in the Doctor’s office getting blood taken.  I think I am so attached to this series and author partially because it carried me through my last month of being pregnant and helped me dampen nerves that were already rampant for a new mother.  The distraction that was the Black Dagger Brotherhood has now intrenched itself in my life and I have become a huge fan because of how these books carried me through to one of the greatest events in my life.

Many authors effect their readers emotionally. But, Nicholas Sparks has to be one of best known authors for taking a chunk of your heart every time you read his books. So, it was strange to realize one of my most prominent memories revolves around one of his books.  It was my first year of college.  I didn’t have anywhere to go for spring break because I lived so far away.   A friend invited me to go home with her and I went.  I remember the look of the house while I sat and read The Notebook.  I remember the quiet that only the deep south can give you.  The breeze that blew through the house occasionally.  The welcoming warmth of the family taking me in for the week.  An overwhelming sense of gratitude and peace comes with reading The Notebook and it’s not from the book itself.

So, it seems that books don’t just impact you with their stories.  It seems your story and emotions can tie to a book and it can become a symbol of a single moment or string of moments  that are emotionally poignant to you.  I know that I have many other books with these connections to my life and I foresee that many more will have an impact and become a symbol all wrapped up in the package of a good book.

So…I ask you reader…Do you have a book or story that ties you to an event in your life?

Review: The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe

I just finished The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe.  I was intrigued when I first read about this book.  I knew she was a good writer after I had read her first book The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  I had high expectations for her follow-up.  I was not let down.

In House of Velvet and Glass we are transported between a few different eras.  Primarily we are in Boston 3 yrs after the Titanic sank.  The Allston’s were greatly effected by this event.  Especially that of our main character Sybil.  Sybil becomes intrenched  in the new Spiritualist movement of mediums and seances that her mother before her was enamoured with. We follow Sybil as her beliefs are questioned and her grasp on reality is tenuous as she deals with her grief.   The book jumps between this primary time period to following Sybil’s mother and sister onboard of the Titanic to her father in the mid 1800’s as a young boy whose ship docks in Shanghai.  You may wonder how the three things are interlocked, but Katherine Howe weaves the story so fluidly that it is easy to find yourself easily transitioning between stories.  You will question at times where is she heading with this or why is that significant, but it does all connect in the end.

This historical fiction has everything you want in a book.  It has intrigue, romance, suspense and tragedy.  As a follow-up, Katherine Howe out does herself.  Katherine Howe brings enough paranormal into her writing that you can believe that these things can happen without them seeming so far-fetched.  I cannot wait for her next book.

You can find out more about Katherine Howe’s books at katherinehowe.com.  Her books can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all other book retailers.

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