AnnAlysis: The Paris Winter

the paris winterFrom Goodreads:
Imogen Robertson’s break-out novel – a deep, dark and opulent tale of Belle epoque Paris, and the secrets and dangers hidden beneath its luxurious facade. Maud Heighton came to Lafond’s famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of the Belle epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: an addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels’ world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.

My Thoughts:
If I hear anything Paris, I will normally snatch a book up in a heartbeat. That is was set in the past had me a little iffy, but I gave in and am glad I did.

This book was a roller coaster for not only the characters, but also myself. Poor Maude, literally poor, seems to hit the motherload – getting a job with room and board. All she has to do is spend time with another young woman, who has ailing health. She can still get to her art classes. And she even has friends now. All is well…. until it’s not anymore. And when it’s bad, it’s very bad and Maude is left with less than she started with. At least originally she had her reputation, although there wasn’t much to know about her.

So that’s why Maude was on a roller coaster. The coaster I was on had to do with the plot. At first, it was hard for me to get into the book, then I couldn’t put it down, then it started to fall flat for me again, then it picked up and ended strong. The book had several strong points, including the characters, many parts of the story line, several little love stories, and a major crime. The part of the book that was slow for me, there was nothing wrong with it. You have to have it to tell the story, but I knew there was something more coming and I wanted to it to get there faster.

I loved how Robertson wrote this story. What always makes me nervous about historical books is the writing. Many times, it’s over my head and I don’t understand the dialect. That was not the case in this one and I felt like I really was able to jump back in time and be part of the story.

I also enjoyed how Robertson portrayed the female characters and their struggles in the early 1900s, and did so with strong female characters who were well beyond their time.

I always like little touches that authors add to their stories that make them different. Robertson did this very well. She described the settings with notes from a collection of art. I skimmed through many of these, but plan to go back and read them more thoroughly now that I have the book finished. This is just a habit of mine. I like to focus on the story, then go back and read the extras and get a better idea of how they fit into the story.

I give The Paris Winter 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

Come back tomorrow for a Q&A to learn more about Roberston and what she learned in writing this book.

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Release: 11/18/2014
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AnnAlysis: Because She Loves Me

because she love smeFrom Goodreads:
When Andrew Sumner meets beautiful, edgy Charlie, he is certain his run of bad luck has finally come to an end.

But as the two of them embark on an intense affair, Andrew wonders if his grasp on reality is slipping. Items go missing in his apartment. Somebody appears to be following him. And as misfortune and tragedy strike his friends and loved ones, Andrew is forced to confront the frightening truth.

Is Charlie really the girl of his dreams or the woman of his nightmares?

My Thoughts:
I normally don’t go for books with male leads (sorry guys…. I normally have a hard time getting into your heads and really getting your characters), but this one struck me as quite intriguing.

This book starts off like a normal love story. Boy meets girl. Boy instantly is infatuated. Girl plays the game. Girl comes around. They fall head over heels for each other. Then it gets crazy. And by crazy, I mean this would make a fantastic suspenseful movie. Weird things happen to Andrew, his BFF, his to-be boss, the list goes on.

This is a very intense novel. I think at one time or another we’ve all had, or have had a friend with, a bit of a crazy relationship. Likely not this crazy. At parts it seems a little far fetched, that someone would go through such lengths, but you never know what people will do in the name of love.

What a great book. I didn’t want to put it down, but things like work and sleep get in the way of reading time :) There are so many twists and turns and surprising revelations that have you guessing through the whole book.

I give Because She Loves Me 5 out of 5 bookmarks. And I REALLY hope someone reads this one day and decides to make a movie out of it. Who doesn’t like a thriller the exploits crazy relationships that makes you feel great about your own, but also makes you a little paranoid at the same time?

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Released: September 2014
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Fall Reading List

Oh fall! How I have a love/hate relationship with you. I love all things pumpkin. I hate that this means winter is around the corner. But I get a lot more reading done in the fall and winter because I leave the house a lot less. I don’t feel as bad sitting around the house in the winter as I do in the summer. The weather is just a bit less desirable.

My fall reading list is already packed to the gills. I am very ambitious, a little too ambitious I think. I’m already a smidge behind. Oops. But there are so many good books that have come my way recently, I can’t turn them down. Here’s what I’m hoping to crack open this fall.

The Revealed by Jessica Hickam
The Competition by Marcia Clark
The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec
Still Yours by Amy Patrick
Black Moon Draw by Lizzy Ford
Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney
Since You’ve Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne
The Paris Winter by Imogen Roberston
The Secret Place by Tana French
You Had Me and Bonjour by Jennifer Bonnet
Thieving Forest by Martha Conway
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
A  Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
At Home with Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott

Annnnnd that just gets me through November….. :) Better get to reading, eh? What’s on your fall reading list?

AnnAlysis: Thorns of Rosewood

thorns of rosewoodFrom Goodreads:
Gloria Larsen knows only three things about her birth mother: she was over forty, she lived in Rosewood, Nebraska, and she was accused of murder in 1974. 

When Gloria is offered a job as newspaper editor in the small town, she jumps at the opportunity to discover the identity of her birth mother. Digging into the past, she finds a story of the disappearance of a judge’s wife and four friends accused of murder. Gloria tracks the now-elderly women to an assisted-living facility. This is Gloria’s chance to write the story of a lifetime and finally know her heritage. Even if she can’t learn the truth of her origins, she must find out what really happened to Naomi Waterman Talbot.

My Thoughts: 
As a journalist, this book struck a cord with me IMMEDIATELY! What journalist wouldn’t love a chance to hear a story that no one has ever heard and have a chance to write that story for the world to hear?

This is a wonderful small town murder mystery that has been haunting the town for decades. Instead of ever getting down to the bottom of it, the story was sealed up and the community is left with rumors to spread and pass on through the ages.

The story is told through the past and the present – when the main characters were just girls, to now, when they are Golden Girls….literally. One thing I don’t know about Gloria is how she could ever break her sessions into multiple ones. Once I would have gotten them going, I’m not sure I would have been able to stop and put it on hold for another time. Their story is riveting and very hard to put down and to be honest, hard to figure out. I have a love/hate relationship for books I can’t get :)

I give The Thorns of Rosewood 5 out of 5 bookmarks and I’m seeing that a second book in the series in the works. Woo woo!

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Released: February 2014
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AnnAlysis: Charming

charmingFrom Goodreads:
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s great . . . as long as you don’t die. 

Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.

Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.

Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.

My Thoughts:
Wow! What an awesome read! Krystal Wade grips you from the beginning and keeps you hanging on until the end. I read a couple of pages here and there late last week, but did most of my reading this weekend, in a couple of sittings. I could not put the book down.

Haley is a phenomenal teen character. She has been through more in her short teenage years than most of us could imagine living more than double what Haley has lived. A tragic accident rips her family into pieces and in this book you learn what that can do to someone, especially someone so young, and the lengths this young girl, wise beyond her years, will do to keep her family together, even if it’s by a raveled thread.

You can tell by the cover that this is not a sparkles and rainbows books. It’s dark, it’s gritty and honestly there are parts that will absolutely infuriate you. But there are other parts. Other parts that will show you a glimmer into the brighter side. Like the light at the end of the tunnel and what will keep Haley pushing forward.

There are some characters that keep us coming back. We all have that list of male characters that just really woo us. Chris Charming has made my list. I absolutely, without a doubt, love this character. It’s amazing how a fictional character, who you just read about on the pages of a book, can stick with you the way they do. He’s everything that you hope for in a man, whether you are a teenager, or an adult, or an adult hoping the young ones you care about meet that special person.

With all of that said, this book also leaves you with some great thoughts. This book is wrapped up with a real life, very serious issue: domestic abuse. There’s a very short list of people who know what Haley goes through, even some under her own roof aren’t privy to what happens behind closed doors. And therein lies the problem. This book shows what can happen when you keep abuse hidden, but also shows what can happen when it goes too far, and comes to light. We have vast differences in how things are handled. Granted, I was not and am not a victim of abuse, so I cannot speak from personal experience. But Wade did a wonderful job of painting such a heart wrenching picture and putting everything out on the table.

I give Charming 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: October 6, 2014
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