Bookit Review: The Wedding Dress

Title:  The Wedding Dress
Bookit #3
Author: Rachel Hauck
Release Date: 2012
Medium: Paperback

My grade: A-

I really enjoyed this book, which is actually the first in the series.  However, none of the books appear to be interconnected other than a few minor things.  The third book, which I’m not reading at this time might have some more connections, however.  Basically, you can read this book and The Wedding Chapel in any order and not be out-of-place. Continue reading

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Bookit Review: The Wedding Chapel

Title: The Wedding Chapel (book 2 of the Wedding series)
Bookit #2
Author: Rachel Hauck
Release Date:
Medium: Paperback

My grade: A

I picked this book up at a discount item store the other day, not realising it was the second book in a series.  However it seems that the books are connected by theme rather than storyline so I think I’ve done alright.

This book has four point of views (done third person) including Collette, Taylor, Jimmy and Jack.  It is about a family and finding out some hard truths.  At the start of the book, we are introduced to Jimmy, who is an 83-year-old football coach who built a wedding chapel for his girlfriend back in the 50s.  It ended up not working out and he’s finally deciding to sell after interest spikes in the property.

Taylor is a photographer sent by a magazine that heard about the chapel and wanted to photograph it.  She happened to grow up in the same home town as Couch Jimmy, and is amazed by the chapel.  She later finds out the chapel was made for her Great-Aunt Collette.  So Taylor stays around to find out what is going to happen to the chapel as well as deal with her grandmother’s belongings.  It brings out a lot of secrets the family has kept for decades.

In the end, the two couples in the story – Jimmy & Collette;  Jack & Taylor – have to figure out how to get over what has happened to them in the past and make new beginnings.

I enjoyed the story, although sometimes the timeline was hard to follow.  It took place mainly in 2015, with flashbacks to when Jimmy & Collette were younger.  I do admit I wish that Peg had been a point of view, but that might have given away the ending too soon.    I also liked the references to other novels that Rachel Hauck has written, although I only knew they were references because I saw a list of her books one day when searching for the publishing info on this novel.

I’m reading the first book in the series now, called The Wedding Dress.  Its most likely going to be the next book in my book reviews.

Bookit Review: The Last in Love

Title: The Last in Love  (Book 5 in the Ardent Springs series)

Author: Terri Osburn
Release date: 2017
Medium:  E-book (Kindle Unlimited)

My grade:  B

I believe this is the last book in the series, though the end of it hints that if the author could make it a six book series if she wanted to.  This one focuses on Abby Williams, a widow of two years who ends up falling for a man five years younger than her – and someone she used to babysit back in high school. Justin Donovan is recently home after having lost his job, his fiancée and best friend. Both Abby and Justin have some issues to work through.

The book in general is good.  The pacing is a little off, but not so much that it really bothered me.  It was a nice lazy morning read.  Some of the accessory characters (such as Justin’s former fiancée and best friend) are a bit flat as well.  It did well to tie up some loose ends from previous books in the series, as well as tie up overall arcs (such as the Ruby Theater, and Carrie’s women’s shelter).

I did like the theme of women discovering themselves, and building each other up.  Other then Victoria, most of the women in this novel are friends or at least friendly towards each other.  Sometimes when you pick up novels (and definitely tv shows) there is this inclination to make cat fights or have a love triangle where the two women don’t get along because they are fighting over a guy.  This novel stays free of that for the most part.

So if you enjoy low-key romances, I can recommend this book.  Terri Osburn in general is a good author and I have enjoyed both the series that I have read from her.  Many of her novels are available on Kindle Unlimited if you subscribe to that service.

Bookit Review: PS from Paris

Title: PS From Paris (Previously called Elle & Lui )
Author: Marc Levy (Translated by Sam Taylor from French to English)
Publication Date: September 2017  (US Edition, Kindle First program)
My Grade:  B-

I thought the idea of the story sounded interesting, so when I saw it on the Kindle First list for August, I decided to choose it.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Kindle First is a benefit of the Amazon Prime Account where you are given a selection of six books to choose one book to get free each month before its released to the general public on the site.  I’ve gotten a few good books this way.  I got PS From Paris during the August books, and it was released earlier this month so if you are interested it is on Amazon now.  These often show up in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program for the first few months.

Back to the book.  The book is actually a sequel to a book I’ve never read.  The book, whose title I forget at the moment, was made into a Reese Witherspoon film called Just Like Heaven.  The connection was another reason I choose to read it.  Its been awhile since I’ve seen the movie, but I remember the basic plot of it.

PS From Paris takes on the story of Paul, Arthur (the lead male character in the first book)’s best friend.  Paul had moved to Paris after writing his first novel, which was based on the story of his best friend and his wife.  He wasn’t that comfortable with the low-key fame he was getting so he went to Paris to get away from it, and write other books.  Since then he’s found he has an amazing following in South Korea. He has also been having a long-distance relationship of sorts with his translator, Kyong.  Arthur, who thinks this relationship is a bit of a bad idea, ends up setting him up with a date through a dating site.  There he meets Mia, thinking she is there to talk to him as an architect which makes things very awkward at first.  But then it becomes an interesting friendship.  This being a romance, its typically predictable where this will end up.

The novel has a few clichés, and I think there are some background stories that could be fleshed out, but overall it was an enjoyable read.  The translation (as the book was written originally in French) may have not crossed over some of the flow of the book that you might find in a native language, but I rarely found anything choppy to indicate that it was a poor translation. I have the first book on my wish list for a later purchase as I’m interesting in other writing by Mr. Levy, but at the same time I’m not driven to read it right this minute.

My only issue is I feel the end was rather rushed, and the book could have used a better sense of timing for each of the acts so to speak.  However, like I said, it was enjoyable, there weren’t any characters that I despised, and while I wasn’t particularly attached to either of the main characters, I found them to be tolerable.

Translated Works: A Question

I am currently reading a novel called PS From Paris by Marc Levy.  Mr. Levy is a French Author, so my edition is an English Translation (and also from Kindle First, so not quite out yet to the non-prime purchasers). It’s the sequel to another novel which was made into the movie “Just like Heaven” starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. It made me curious.  This is only the third time I knowingly read a book that was translated (I’m sure there were a few in English class I never considered being translated during High School).

My question to you:  Are you more likely, less likely or neutral to read a book that says its been Translated from its native language?  And if you do read translated books, have you ever attempted to read the original language?  Or found it lacking a little due to the translation losing some of the intent?

The last book I read that was translated before this one ended up being a unlikable one, but apparently one that was very popular.  It was called the Glassmaker, and I can’t recall if I posted my review here or on Bubblews (now gone).  This book however is something I am enjoying so far.  It made me wonder if perhaps I limit myself by not searching out books that are translated from other countries.  There are so many stories out there that I may be missing because I don’t come across them.

 

Bookit Review: Falling for The Highlander

Title: Falling for the Highlander (Book #4 in the Highlander series)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date: January 2017
My grade: C

I found this book to be a bit underwhelming.  It over all had the best potential for the background mystery, but it failed to really go there.  I understand it’s a romance novel, but I was actually disappointed by the amount of time spent on the romance versus the plot.  Maybe it was because the main characters, Murine and Dougall are not really compelling characters in this book.  They were actually more interesting as secondary characters in the previous books.

I’m wondering why this series, unlike the Argeneau series, has failed to really grab me.  I enjoy the books, but I don’t find them particularly worth talking about.  I can recommend as a light read for a day you don’t want anything too heavy.  It has a happy ending, too, which I appreciate right now.  But it’s not something I can say “Oh, you must read this!” like some of Sands’ other books.

THe basic premise of the novel is that Murine’s older half-brother tries to sell her off as a mistress to pay to keep his image as a country gentlemen by having a horse.  Dougall, the older brother of Saidh, is disgusted by the offer and leaves.  Murine, unwilling to stay after that happens takes off on a cow to see if she could make it to one of her friends homes and find a way out of her brother’s care.  She runs into Dougall and his brothers, who decide to help her to Scotland.  On the way there, the brothers all claim they will marry her, which Dougall finds annoying as he has started to be interested in her.

There is alot of time spent on Dougall trying his best not to be her lover till they are married and on Murine’s fainting problems.  I don’t particularly feel that Dougall’s interest in Murine really develops much.  It has one of those “Oh, it must be love because we are nearing the end of the book” type of realizations.  I’m hoping that the next book, which takes on the last lady from book #2, Edith and another Buchanan named Niels.

Previous in the series:

An English Bride in Scotland

To Marry A Scottish Laird

A Highlander takes a Bride

Bookit Review: A Highlander Takes a Bride

Title: A Highlander takes a Bride (book 3 in the Highlander series)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date:
Grade: B-

This book was a harder read for me then the last two.  Mostly because I had to keep looking up terms I was unfamiliar with, like Applemoyse (An apple dessert) and tincture (a medication dissolvable in alcohol apparently). There were also a few names I had to google for pronunciation. This is medieval Scotland, so its well before the unification of Britain.  However, they keep it quite vague as to who is King of Scotland, or England.   Just that they exist.  So the exact time period is a little vague.

In this book, we follow Joan’s new friend Siadh, who after visiting Joan while she gave birth to her son Bearnard, goes to visit a cousin named Fenalla, who has lost her fourth husband in suspicious circumstances.  Saidh isn’t sure what to think as her cousin did in fact kill her first husband.  And the book keeps you guessing if the woman had in fact killed her husband, or if it was someone else.  Someone who is now after Saidh.  The result of that mystery is actually quite surprising when you get to it.

The romance end of it is Saidh catches the eye of Greer MacDonnell.  He’s the new Laird, having inherited the position after his cousin Allen’s death.  He immediately is fascinated with her, and she with him.  It’s not long before he decides they should be married (abit more because he wants to have sex with her but she’s a noble lady so no sex till the ring is on).  Which introduces us to the vast amount of brothers Saidh has, all who play a role with the story, and the next two according to the summaries.  I found the brothers, and Alpin who is Greer’s squire, to be interesting.  The romance was bit quick in my mind, but considering it is a romance novel, and you only have so many pages to develop a relationship and solve a mystery its understandable.

I did think the injuries were a bit much, especially when they seem to switch from major to something minor later on. In one scene Saidh is hit with an arrow through her upper chest that ends up being pushed through to the other side, but within a day or so seems to be alright to carry around the castle and have a love scene with her husband.  Alpin’s illness is never really explained, only that he is ill, but I suppose his minor character status would allow for that. And I have to feel sorry for Milly, who gets used by Greer pretty much (and apparently turns into a bitter person for it in the next book when she’s mentioned.)

Still not a bad read, so I gave it an C+  Great characters, but I feel it was bit too much about the sex that it took away some of plot.