If you'd like to see my recent four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.
* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
Mr. Perfect, by Linda Howard **** I enjoyed this, although my interest started to wane a bit near the end (and I skimmed to finish). I like the feistiness of the MC, and certainly her relationship with Sam sizzles -- though, it always makes me laugh when people 'fall in love' in just a couple of days. Still, I can see why romance-style books have it like that, as I know I used to fantasize about meeting someone and falling for them that quickly (and having it work out, of course). The story: Jaine and her three friends come up with a list of qualities needed for the 'perfect' guy -- and although some are serious, the last few are decidedly snarky (and based on physical qualities). Somehow, the list gets out, and soon all four have media attention. In the meantime, Jaine continues to bicker with her neighbor, a man she thought was a drunk (because of his hours and state of dishevelled-ness); but when she discovers he's actually a police detective, her perspective begins to soften. As the attention on the four grows, someone is unhappy with their list, and one of Jaine's friends is murdered. Sam (the detective neighbor) goes into protective mode, and soon he and Jaine are in a relationship -- and when Jaine's house is ransacked, they suspect the same person is after all four girls. Jaine and Sam must work together to discover the identity of the killer -- and to protect the remaining three in any way they can from this crazed maniac. (Adult Romantic Suspense, released 2001, publisher: Pocket Star)
[World on Fire, by Hayley James *** This has an interesting premise, but I got frustrated by how slowly the world-building unfolded. Although listed as a paranormal, in some ways, it seemed more like magical realism -- and when I finally figured out what was going on, I thought it was a cool concept. However, that realization didn't come until the last couple chapters of the book, and I was pretty confused up to that point. Part of the problem came in the way the MC reacted to the world -- Cole didn't show any strong reactions, emotionally or otherwise. It made the whole story feel distant, and even when he was falling for Lucian, it seemed like there was a veil between the passion they seemed to feel and my own reading experience. The ending was definitely romantic, and I thought the concept was pretty cool -- it was simply that the revelation was too slow for my taste (in that, I was more frustrated than enjoying the reveal). However, I suspect those who regularly read paranormal romance might find this right up their alley. The story: Cole travels to do an interview with the reclusive Lucian, an artist. Right away, things seem off. For one, Lucian spends time with a young girl (around nine), and their relationship is more like peers than adult to child. Also, Cole could swear that some of the paintings around Lucian's house change their appearance...and what's going on with the weather? These mysteries don't have a quick answer, and Lucian seems determined to keep Cole in the dark about what's really going on. He claims Cole isn't ready to know. In the end, will Cole have the tenacity to stick it out with Lucian, despite the strangeness and the openness Lucian insists upon? (Adult Paranormal Romance, GLBT, released 1/12, publisher: Dreamspinner Press)]
Bunheads, by Sophie Flack ** Okay, I didn't read much of this, but I wanted to give it a shout-out. I read the first few chapters and then the last few -- but the reason I didn't read it all has nothing to do with the quality of the book. In fact, I found it quite intriguing, well written, and insightful. It's simply that this world is so far from my own that I personally wasn't invested in taking the time to completely read it. I still would recommend this to teens, however. The ballet world is so removed from what most of us experience, and this seemed to fully insert me into that world. As a parent, I must admit, I have a hard time 'getting' why Hannah's parents would let her move away at 14 -- BUT, that's another example of how reading this like is going to a completely different world. Yes, for me, family and the whole family experience is much more important than any dream like this. If my kiddos wanted something like this, they'd have to wait until they were out of high school (unless the whole family could move, which would be doubtful). So that part was surprising to me. I really liked Hannah's personal growth in the story. I liked how she had to figure out for herself what was most important TO HER. The story: Hannah is a member of the Manhattan Ballet Corps, and although she doesn't consider herself a ballerina (as those are the stars, and she's simply a member of the group behind the stars), she definitely has dreams of moving up. When she gets the chance to understudy a solo part, she and another girl are suddenly in competition for 'moving up.' Hannah has to consider her life and what she wants (in the long run) -- deciding which things (such as a possible boyfriend outside the dancing world) to add to her list of sacrifices -- as she begins fighting for a new ballet role. (YA contemporary, released 10/11, publisher: Poppy)
Currently Reading: Article 5 -- which is terrifying, btw...*shudders*