Friday, October 17, 2014

Painted Horsed by Malcolm Brooks

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Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; August 5, 2014


In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and untamed landscape, in a tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress.

Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her—a canyon “as deep as the devil’s own appetites.” Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar—the vastness of the canyon itself mocks the contained, artifact-rich digs in post-Blitz London where she cut her teeth. And then there’s John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the U.S. Army’s last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than just the vanished past. Painted Horses sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman’s vanishing way of life, and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make strange bedfellows. It establishes Malcolm Brooks as an extraordinary new talent. (Amazon)

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed this story of the 1950's set in Montana.   Montana at this time was changing - for good or bad - that was the question.   This was a time roles for men and women were changing, the old Indian ways were changing, and life on the land for the cowboys was changing.  Cate, John H., Miriam, Jack Allen, and Max Caldwell, main characters in the story, all will have to face challenges to the way of life as they know it.  We see the Native American having to make the choice between retaining their culture or moving in to the modern world, we see women making choices that several years early were not allowed in society, and conflict between the cowboy and the modern world.  Everyone is faced with choices that only they can make - will they make the right choice?  

I enjoyed the book, the writing was very good and it made you feel like you were traveling to Montana and seeing the beautiful sites along with the characters.

"Rowdy" By: Jay Crownover Review

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Rowdy
By: Jay Crownover


Synopsis
After the only girl he ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Rowdy learned his lesson early on, when you care that much about anything it can destroy you, and he never wants to risk feeling like that again. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.
Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules, too many regulations, and no fun allowed. That never worked for her so she left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago. A mission that is going along perfectly until the one person that ties them together shows up and could very well tear them back

My Thoughts
   Rowdy St. James is used to being left by the ones he loves. His mother was murdered when he was still a child, his father was nonexistent in his life, and his best friend Salem, left town when she turned 18. So when Salem shows back up 10 years later, he is understandably unsure of how to relate to the girl he once knew. The only thing he knows for sure, he isn’t ready to connect with his former friend only to be hurt once again.
    Salem Cruz ran away at the age of 18 to escape from her tyrannical father. Independent for the first time, she never forgot her friend Rowdy or their intense connection. She hears through the grapevine that he is now working in a tattoo parlor in Denver so when she is offered a job in the very same shop, she takes it thinking she and her friend will have a good reunion. Little does she know that their relationship is about to go to the next level.
    Jay Crownover is simply wonderful. I love her writing style and the characters are always written superbly. She takes tattooed bad boys who have been on the wrong side of the law more than once and makes them someone you wanna take home to Mama.
    Rowdy and Salem have a lot of history to work through. Rowdy has led such a lonely life with everyone leaving him, it's truly heartbreaking. You can honestly feel his loneliness and understand how hesitant he is to connect with Salem again. Salem herself has been dealing with severe mental issues developed by a lifetime of abuse from her father. Definitely emotional, but finally when they connect its like fireworks!
     A tumultuous, emotional yet sexy novel, Crownover can write damaged characters unlike any other. Fantastically entertaining, I was drawn into Rowdy’s story and fell in love with Salem. The secondary characters from previous novels are featured and I loved catching up with my favorite Marked Men. Look for more Marked Men fun next year when Asa gets his own story!

Marked Men
1. Rule
2. Jet
3. Rome
4. Nash
5. Rowdy (October, 2014)
6. Asa (April 2015)

Book Details
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780062333056
Date of Publication: October 21, 2014
# of Pages: 400
Source: Edelweiss - for Review
Location: Denver, CO


Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Nash" By: Jay Crownover Review

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Nash
By: Jay Crownover

Synopsis
Will their past determine their future?

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down... and now he’s trying to do it again.

Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.

When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?


My Thoughts
     Saint Ford is a successful nurse, working in a high pressure environment, and thrives in the Emergency Room. Imagine her surprise when her arch nemesis and former high school crush arrives in the ER needing her help. Having broken her heart without even realizing it, Nash is thrown into a situation not of his choosing but finds himself needing her comfort intensely.
     Dealing with a sudden revelation about his father, Nash is thrown for a loop. Add to that the stress of realizing his newly found Father is fighting for his life, Nash is unable to deal with life’s new stresses. Saint can’t help herself and helps bring Nash out of his booze induced depression but her own low self-esteem continues to suffer.
      Nash’s story may be the most emotional for me. Nash grows up quite a bit and you follow his emotional journey towards becoming an actual responsible adult. His moments of realizing how much he truly cares about the people in life is both enlightening and heartbreaking.
     On the other hand, Saint drove me up the freaking wall. Her insecurities at times seemed so overwhelming and I found them a bit hard to believe at times. I’m a little chubby and her comments about her weight drove me crazy, so I had a hard time connecting. Yet once I got over those aspects, I really enjoyed her caring nature and the connections she made with these rough and tumble tattooed men so outside of her normal life.
     Another fun addition to the Marked Men series, this book more than the others show how much the main characters have adjusted and how circumstances have truly changed in their world. The world Crownover has created is full and well rounded with lots of different people from a wide array of backgrounds but it all works in a strangely wonderful way. As always, Crownover can write a heck of a naughty scene and let me tell you, Nash may be the naughtiest of all. Incredibly excited to read Rowdy’s book coming out in October 2014, then hopefully Asa will get his own story!  
Favorite Quote
“That boy is sprung on you and he is a nice guy. A superhot, supersexy nice guy. Do you know how rare that is? He’s like a goddamn unicorn.” 

Marked Men
1. Rule
2. Jet
3. Rome
4. Nash
5. Rowdy (October, 2014)
6. Asa (April 2015)

Book Details
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Date of Publication: April 29, 2014
ISBN: 9780062333049
# of Pages: 302
Source: Personal Purchase
Location: Denver, CO

Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Rome" By: Jay Crownover Review

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Rome
By: Jay Crownover

Synopsis
Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .
Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed "bad boy" friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won't let herself get burned again. She's waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He's stubborn, rigid, and bossy.
And he's returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome's used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he's just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . .


My Thoughts
    Cora is the smart mouthed, loud, sassy manager of the Marked Men tattoo shop in Denver. Keeping the tattoo artists in line is her job and she doesn’t have time for much else. When Rome Archer (brother to the infamous Rule) arrives in town, with a bad case of PTSD, pissed off at the world and self destructive, she finds herself making time for the handsome soldier immediately.
    Rome has went to war, fought a battle for his life and his soul, and now has returned to civilian life. Lost within himself, Rome has turned to violence and alcohol to soothe his soul. When a night of drinking has him calling his brother, it’s Cora who answers the call for a sober driver. A night of passion later, Cora and Rome embark on a voracious romance that changes their lives and their fates forever.
    Perhaps my favorite to date, I knew from the very beginning that I was going to love Rome. Always so protective and by instinct the most loyal, Rome is heartbroken when he returns. He doesn't feel like he knows his family anymore and his whole world is upside down when he returns. Cora is so different from him and takes no prisoners. Strong and independent, Cora is wary of falling for Rome. She knows he needs help, but can she truly be the help he needs?
      Adorable and fun, I absolutely fell in love with Rome. Crownover does a great job of writing Cora and her interactions with the boys of the shop had me laughing out loud. Her no holds barred treatment of Rome and her sensitivity when dealing with his PTSD is handled with care and realistically related. Maybe my favorite part? Rome is dirrrrty when the times call for it and we all know Crownover rocks the dirrrty! Next up is Nash!


Favorite Quote:
“She was also damn cute. Not beautiful or stunningly pretty, but she was cuter than any girl with that much attitude had a right to be, and somehow the bouquet of flowers that colored her skin in every shape and variety seemed like it belonged there.”

Marked Men
1. Rule
2. Jet
3. Rome
4. Nash
5. Rowdy (October, 2014)
6. Asa (April 2015)

Book Details
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Date of Publication: January 7, 2014
# of Pages: 384
ISBN: 9780062302397
Location: Denver, CO
Source: Personal Purchase


Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

Monday, October 13, 2014

Presidential Courage by Michael Beschloss




  • Presidential Courage:  Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989
  • by
  • Michael Beschloss

  • 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (February 5, 2008)

Presidential Courage is a brilliantly readable and inspiring saga about crucial times in American history when a courageous President dramatically changed our future. Like Beschloss's previous book, The Conquerors, it was a New York Times bestseller for months. 

With surprising new sources and a dazzling command of history and human character, Beschloss brings to life those flawed, complex men -- and their wives, families, friends and foes. Never have we had a more intimate, behind-the-scenes view of Presidents coping with the supreme dilemmas of their lives. For Americans who must choose Presidents and assess them once they are elected, Presidential Courage sets a lasting standard by showing us the best in Presidential leadership. (Amazon)

My Thoughts:  We hear everyday of one political party bashes the other and it was very interesting to see that this type of conflict has gone on since the beginning of our nation.   Political difference and discussions are what make our country unique.  

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult



Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 14, 2014)

For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe she was abandoned, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.
 
Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who’d originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.
 
As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers. (Amazon)

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed Leaving Time very much.  Jodi Picoult's newest novel follows the same format of her earlier novel with each character telling their own stories.  Elephants, their lives and death tie all the characters together.   I actually learned a lot more about elephants than I had imaged, they are amazing creatures.  If you like Jodi Picoult stories, Leaving Time will not disappoint.