Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: White Bird in a Blizzard

Title White Bird in a Blizzard

Author Laura Kasischke

Release Date January 13, 1999

When Katrina Connors' mother walks out on her family, Kat is surprised but not shocked; the whole year she has been "becoming sixteen" - falling in love with the boy next door, shedding her babyfat, discovering sex - her mother has been slowly withdrawing. As Kat and her impassive father pick up the pieces of their daily lives, she finds herself curiously unaffected by her mother's absence. But in dreams that become too real to ignore, she's haunted by her mother's cries for help. Finally, she must act on her instinct that something violent and evil has occurred - a realization that brings Kat to a chilling discovery.

I decided to give this book a read whenever I saw the movie trailer. It appeared to be something that I would be interested in, but I always try to read the book first if given the opportunity.

At around 13% or so, I thought about marking the book DNF and just going to watch the movie. By this point in the book, I was already tired of the too long descriptions about things that didn't make a bit of difference to the story. There's a line between well written and overly descriptive and boring. White Bird in a Blizzard crossed that line. However, not one to give up so easily, I decided to stick with the book a little longer to see if something would grab my attention. Unfortunately, that never happened. While I did finish the book, there was never a point where the story took off and truly became interesting.

The story was not only boring, but was disjointed and all over the place. I felt like too much attention was paid to things that were inconsequential and not enough attention was paid to things that would have brought this book to the next level. And although this was a coming of age story about a teenage girl after her mother's disappearance, I didn't really care about Kat. I was much more interested in Eve and her disappearance. Perhaps that's where my main disappointment in the book comes from. It focused much more heavily on something that I didn't care about.

On a side note, very shortly after I finished this book, I watched the movie. I enjoyed it slightly more than I enjoyed the book. I attribute this to the ending of the movie which is slightly different than the ending of the book. So, while I'm not inclined to recommend the movie or the book, if I had to make a choice between the two, I'd say go for the movie in this case.


2 out of 5 stars

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: You Are My Only

Title You Are My Only

Author Beth Kephart

Release Date October 25, 2011

Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.

Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.

When I read the blurb for the book, I just knew that this would be a book that I would enjoy. Instead, this book is nothing like the blurb would lead you to believe. I was incredibly disappointed.

While we're lead to believe that this is the story of Sophie's life after finding out that she was kidnapped, that's not the case. That's left for the last few pages. So, what's the majority of the book about? A whole lot of nothing actually.

The alternating stories do absolutely nothing to save this book. Sophie's parts are boring. Emmy's parts are confusing (and boring). The whole book just left something to be desired and the only reason I kept reading was in hopes that things would get better. Nope, things just end. No resolution, no confrontation, nothing.

After looking forward to reading this book while it sat on my to-read shelf for two years, You Are My Only takes home the most disappointing read of the year.


1 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Dare Truth or Promise

Title Dare Truth or Promise

Author Paula Boock

Release Date October 25, 1999

Willa and Louie could not be more different. Louie wants to be a lawyer and is an outstanding student. Willa lives in a pub and just wants to get through the year so she can graduate and become a chef. But they are completely attracted to one another when they first meet at a fast-food restaurant. Soon they fall in love fast and furiously, and everything the girls are sure of - their plans, their faith, their families, their identities - is called into question...

Dare Truth or Promise bordered on boring. There just wasn't enough to make this book stand out for me. In fact, it fell prey to some of the typical romance stories that are in abundance.

One, the two main characters meet and practically fall in love with one another right off the bat. I, for one, enjoy a romance that blossoms from friendship. Instalove just doesn't cut it for me. Two, Willa and Louie don't have a whole lot of personality. In fact, none of the characters in the story have a whole lot of depth. I'm not asking for an ocean, but more than a puddle would have been nice. Three, there's a lack of any real communication throughout the book. Whether you look at Willa and Louie or even Louie and her family, everything is just glossed over. Communication would have solved, like, 99% of everything that happened in the book. Four, this follows the very typical pattern we see in lots of books with homosexual characters... two same sex people fall in love, person A's family finds out and disapproves, the relationship falls apart, something intense happens, and the relationship is suddenly on the mend and welcomed by everyone. Yawn.

The only thing really different about this book is the main characters are two females rather than a female and a male. And, let's be honest, that's not very different anymore.


2 out of 5 stars

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: Crossing

Title Crossing

Series Open Door Love Story, book 1

Author Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Release Date May 8, 2013

Due to heavy subject matter, Crossing is recommended for readers 17+.

He stole her lipstick…and her heart.

Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back.

When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

Though this is the first book in the Open Door Love Story series, it can be read as a standalone.

Crossing touches on a topic that is certainly different that what we normally see in love stories. For originality, it deserves 5 stars. However, I only gave it 4 stars because the story is presented, in the end, in a neat little bow. Everything about the story happens way too easily. I truly believe that this story can (and possibly does) happen as it does for Dani and Liam, but I'm not sure it's always as easy. I think I would have preferred some more tension and conflict between Dani and Liam, even if they did get their happily ever after. I guess I would have felt it was more deserved if they struggled for it a bit more. Personal preferences aside, I did enjoy this story and I loved the original storyline.

If you're looking for a different kind of love story (and have an open mind), then Crossing certainly should be on your to-read list.


4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blog Tour: Our Orbit

Title Our Orbit

Author Anesa Miller

Release Date June 25, 2014

Tour Host Sage's Blog Tours

In Anesa Miller’s new book, Our Orbit, nine-year-old Miriam Winslow has never worn new clothes, was not permitted to cut her hair, and believes that children must repent their sins with major displays of remorse, or harm will come to their loved ones. Barely half a year after her mother’s death, Miriam is thrust into a different world when her father, a militant tax protester, is jailed on weapons charges.

Miriam finds herself in foster care, her teenage siblings sent to other homes.

College-educated Rick and Deanne Fletcher quickly come to love their “new little girl.” Then they encounter the rest of Miriam’s family: Uncle Dan believes he was abducted by aliens. Sister Rachel, just out of juvenile detention, harbors many painful secrets. Brother Josh is outraged that the Fletchers disrespect Christian teachings. When his plan to remove Miriam from their home fails, Josh reacts with growing hostility to outside interference in their way of life.

Our Orbit was an enjoyable read and I'm glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.

This book was very well written. I liked the pacing of the story immensely. Nothing felt rushed or glossed over, but it also never dragged on or became boring. The flow of the story was reminiscent of everyday life. Even if there wasn't a whole lot of action, the story steadily progressed. Aside from the story, the characters in the book were wonderful. I loved that Miller was able to skillfully show the diversity of characters from different socioeconomic classes from the same area. I was very impressed.

Our Orbit dives into many heavy topics such as religion, poverty, abortion, and family relations. Miller navigates these topics in a way that never comes off preachy or unrealistic. Everything feels so lifelike in this story and that's what I enjoyed the most.


4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

About Anesa Miller

A native of Wichita, Kansas, and longtime Ohio resident, Anesa Miller is a writer with training in Russian language and literature. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, The California Quarterly, the Southern Humanities Review, and others. Her debut novel, Our Orbit, is a story of cultural conflict set in Appalachia in the 1990s.

Goodreads Author Page