Thursday, September 8, 2011

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

Here’s a little bit about this book from Ms. Walker’s website:

Does falling in love mean falling out of faith?

“Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver’s license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church’s annual haunted house of sin, Lacey’s junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn’t know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.”

My Take
I didn’t know if I was going to like this book.  I don’t generally do well with anything that’s one extreme or another.  However, I did find that I really did enjoy this book.  It was nice to see a different kind of character represented as well.  Not much swearing and not much sex in this book and it was nice to see a more innocent side of teens and in today’s world to boot.  Ms. Walker’s characters are very endearing.  A group of friends whose bonds are as strong as steel, but willing to add another to their ranks was wonderful.  It was also nice to see parents who were present, not clueless and not portrayed as the villains.  Are Lacey's values strong enough to withstand a challenge?  Will her family understand if Lacey's values aren't the same as theirs?  The love story between Lacey and Ty was great and built slowly, which I liked.  He respected her and was not the typical bad boy.  I thought Ms. Walker's characters were unique and I liked them all.  This book is yet another in the Contemps Challenge.  I’m giving it 4 ½ sweet innocent kisses!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Here’s a little bit about it from Ms. Schroeder’s website:
Sometimes there's no turning back.

Amber's life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of her family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell that he's also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she's drawn to him. And the more she's troubled by his darkness. Because Cade's not just living in the now--he's living like each moment is his last.

My Take
This book is written in verse and I loved it.  Lisa Schroeder is the expert at writing in verse.  Her books never fail to pluck at my heart strings and fall in love with her characters.  Amber is off for her day to herself when she meets Cade who’s like a gust of wind in her life.  It’s funny how sometimes the few hours you spend getting to know someone, can forever change your life.  The only little nit-picky thing I have to say is that I thought the girl on the cover was dead.  Sorry but it kinda' looks that way.  Just my opinion though, to be sure.  It's a lovely cover despite that.  This is another of the books on the Contemps Challenge.  The ending has a surprise.  I loved this book.  It was a sweet story about treasuring the here and now.  I’m giving it 5 lasting kisses!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Family by Micol Ostow

Here’s a quick bit from the author’s website: It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs. And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go. Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again.

My Take
Wow, this book!  It definitely pulled me right back to the early 70’s.  Mel describes herself as broken and she has been through so very much.  It was at times disturbing to see the affect Henry had over his “family”.  Further and further down the rabbit hole they all seemed to fall.  How far will they all fall for the love and acceptance they crave so deeply?  The verse it was written in was interesting and while it did switch between past and present, it seemed easy enough to follow.  This is one of the books on the Contemps Challenge.  There are depictions of sex and drug use in this book, so be aware of that.  I would recommend this book especially as a look back into history.  Even though fictional, it's very realistic of that time period.  This book was a taut emotional ride through a very haunting time and experience in America.  I’m giving it four kisses!

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