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.
[Awakenings, by Tara Larson ***+ I enjoyed this. Although it was a little dramatic in places, the love story was sweet and the characters were definitely sympathetic. I never really know how realistic it is to have adult characters just now discovering their sexual orientation, but in this case, it was presented in a realistic manner (to me). And certainly the woman scorned aspect was realistic (though a real shame). I wasn't quite sure what to think about an adult letting his parents control his life so much, but truly, as I got further into it, it made sense with Sean's character and why he was struggling, in the first place. Anyone who's allowed their father that much say in their life would definitely be at a tough place once they discover their journey was nothing like what they'd truly hoped. And it was encouraging watching Sean find his inner strength. The story: Sean travels to Miami with his girlfriend, knowing she's hoping for a deeper relationship -- but he's only hoping to figure out why his life seems to lackluster and out of control. Their first night, she gets hopelessly drunk, and when he wanders around on his own, he meets Adam, a bartender who draws Sean to him, somehow. Adam and Sean talk, and then they walk the beach in the wee hours of the morning -- and Sean realizes that he's actually attracted to Adam. The two begin a liaison, and Sean confesses to his girlfriend that he's not in love with her anymore (if he ever was, in the first place). She's furious and leaves him. When she gets home, she decides it's time to get his large, conservative family on her side -- and when Sean returns home from his extended weekend, he's ambushed by his controlling father...from there, Sean must decide what (and who) he really wants in life, while Adam worries if Sean will ever return to him. (Adult contemporary romance, released 1/12, publisher: Dreamspinner Press)]
Article 5, by Kristen Simmons ****+ I really enjoyed this! I had to take breaks here and there because the tension kept building, but there were small releases here and there. The challenge was in the relationship between Chase and Ember -- even when their story had a breather, their relationship was still fraught with...well, many things. I liked Ember, but I have to admit that I thought she was pretty unaware throughout most of the book. It was frustrating to watch her not really see Chase and what was truly going on -- but at the same time, it did fit with her life and how it had always been just her and her mom. The story is terrifying, as it seems plausible in many aspects; I could see our country coming to something like this, eventually. The ending was definitely satisfying, though I'm glad there will be a sequel (and man, she'd better treat Chase well in that one!). The story: Ember and her mom are separated because of 'Article 5' in the new morality laws -- the section which indicates a child cannot be born outside marriage. The biggest shock is when Chase, Ember's old boyfriend, is one of the soldiers who comes to take her mom away. When Ember arrives at the 'rehabilitation' facility, her only thought is escaping and rescuing her mom...but she soon discovers nothing is that easy. The entire country has been taken over by the FBR (fanatics who dictate society's every move), and the women and soldiers at the facility are brutal. Ember manages to blackmail one of the soldiers to help her, but when it all goes wrong, only Chase can get her what she wants...and she doesn't know if she can trust him or not. (YA dystopic, released 2/12, publisher: Tor Teen)
I haven't started the next book yet, but since I'm off to the gym, I'll be making a choice soon. :)