Book Review: McKettrick's Heart

McKettrick's Heart (McKettricks, #8) McKettrick's Heart by Linda Lael Miller

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I liked this book about 40/60 - the least of all the McKettrick books I've read/listened to. The last book I listened to was McKettrick's Luck, with Jesse & Cheyenne. My complaint about that book was that their falling in love was too abrupt; there was no development of any sort of commonality or friendship, leading to no basis for a love relationship (imo). This book, the third in the series about the contemporary McKettrick cousins, was even more abrupt. Keegan and Molly argued constantly, he didn't trust her, and said some pretty ugly things about her and her character in general, then all of a sudden they were in love.

The problem with the story was that the characters were believable and relate-able, but some of their thoughts and actions - based on their characters - weren't. The 60% of the book I liked was the characters - the author has done a great job developing this family of characters - I've enjoyed following their stories throughout multiple books. But the 40% "vote" comes from the illogical storyline/plot devices. Several times in this book I thought, "That's dumb." Which doesn't make for an enjoyable read (or listen, in my case).

I don't regret reading the book - it wasn't awful - I just thought the build-up to "love" should have been included. It seems illogical for believable characters to fall in love in a couple of weeks after such a harsh meeting. I think at this point I'm probably done reading the contemporary McKettricks (I think there's only one left for me - Meg's story), but I may give the historicals another chance.

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Book Review: McKettrick's Luck by Linda Lael Miller

McKettrick's Luck (McKettricks, #6) McKettrick's Luck by Linda Lael Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoy romances in general, and the McKettricks saga, this one seemed a little rushed in the relationship-building department. It seemed like they met, they disagreed a bit, then each was "betrayed", then they were all of a sudden in love. I would have liked to have seen more development of friendship, or some commonality or foundation for a relationship, but maybe that's just me.

I listened to the mp3, downloaded from NetLibrary; this is the 3rd book I've listened to narrated by Christina Moore. She's really good - expressive presentation, and consistently good voices. So, though I would have tweaked the story development a little, it was still a sufficiently entertaining "read".

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Mini Book Review: Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse Mystery #6)

Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery, Book 6) Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to say - I didn't like this one as much as I've enjoyed the other five books in the series. Not to say it's not worth reading - it definitely is, especially if you're working your way through the series.

But the book started with mention of an event, speaking as if it was an already known fact. A friend of mine commented that she actually thought she'd missed a book in-between, because it was kind of abrupt - just kind of off. I thought the same thing later, during the battle scene near the end - I was like, wait, why did a war just break out? I had to rewind the audio (I listened to the audiobook, downloaded from NetLibrary) to see if I missed some instigating event, but I hadn't.

I also didn't like the revelation Bill made in the middle of the book. I didn't think it was necessary, at least at this point in the story arc. I'd rather think well of him, and don't care to have Sookie's feelings color my impression of him. So there.

Other than that, I did enjoy the book, simply for its place in the series. We got to know Quinn a bit, which is a good thing. I think I'd quite like to see his big grin "in person" - I'm sure it would be entirely disarming.

Have you read the 6th Sookie book?  What did you think?

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Book Review: A Page Out of Life by Kathleen Reid

A Page Out of Life A Page Out of Life by Kathleen Reid is, at its core, the story of frazzled mother of four Ashley Gates.  As the book opens, we get an instant snapshot of Ashley's lifestyle - stained t-shirt and sweatpants, unkempt hair, frequent silent promises to herself to improve, and nerves stretched to here - "a caricature of her former self".  Constant demands from family have taken priority over any time for herself.  I must admit that several of Ashley's scenes of self-doubt and horror at "what have I become??" made me feel a little uncomfortable, for hitting a little TOO close to home.

"...Ashley felt embarrassed by her inability to transform herself or her house into something special.  There was a time when she'd considered herself incredibly organized and chic, but her present surroundings seemed as scattered as she now felt.  You've got to pull yourself together, she thought miserably as her mother's words echoed inside her mind."

"Nothing was as it should have been: her house, her figure, her marriage.  She felt utterly alone and embarrassed by her inability to figure a way out of the rut she was in.  She was so tired she felt she would drop."

When Ashley calls her girlfriend Megan for a little "retail therapy", Megan suggests they also stop by to meet her scrapbooking friends.  The scrapbooking group meets weekly at each others' to work on their albums.  While Ashley doesn't believe she's very good at "the arts-and-crafts thing", she agrees to stop by one of the meetings.  Eventually she begins going to the weekly sessions.

The book also follows the stories of the other scrapbooking women: Tara, a single grad student whose history with an absentee father colors her current search for love; and Libby, a semi-retired teacher who must deal with the shocking disillusionment after her son is charged in a corporate scandal. 

Each scrapbooking session becomes therapy, as each woman in the group works through her personal crises with the help of sisterhood and crafts.  The dialogue in the book is very similar to what you might hear at a scrapbooking crop, and will make any scrapbooking reader feel right at home.  As each woman works on her pictures and albums, she shares details from her life, and the other women provide support and feedback that help her find her way.  I loved that aspect of the book - that female friendship can provide a support network that can be immeasurably valuable.  That was probably the biggest thing I took away from the book - a reminder of how much I value my own group of scrapbooking friends, and that I need to make it a priority to attend our meetings, as an investment in myself.

Overall, A Page Out of Life evokes a wonderful sense of "Will she, or won't she?" 

Will Ashley be able to rediscover herself and her passions in life?

Will Libby be able to cope with life after her son's fall from grace?

Will Tara succumb to her decadent desires, conveniently forgetting her own family situation?

A Page Out of Life is a fairly quick read, despite its 320 pages - you can find the answers to these questions in a weekend!