Destiny by Rochelle Wayne

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source: purchased
title: Destiny
author: Rochelle Wayne
published: 1998
genre: historical western romance
first line: James Rayfield, poised in front of his full length mirror, admired his naked physique.
pages: 412
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:
Fleeing for her life, Sharla shamelessly embraced the role of a fallen woman. To escape town, she tricked Lance Slade into escorting her to Texas. But she learned the truth about the sexy bounty hunter too late. With Sharla, Lance found a searing passion that tested his resolve as a lawman. If only Sharla could convince him of her innocence–and Lance could learn to trust her. Only then could they find true love together.

my thoughts:
I read Destiny last week while on vacation by the cabin at the lake and it was the perfect quick, mindless summer read. I mean that in a good way. My daughter and I went into a used book shop in town and we found copies of Destiny and Beneath A Western Moon by the same author. We quickly co-read the former. The books are both in great condition for being published in the 90’s. I’ve tried finding out who author Rochelle Wayne is, but no luck. There is no website connected to her and I’m assuming she wrote under a pseudonym. Anyway, Destiny has everything good Harlequin romance should have. Hero and heroine who initially dislike each other but eventually fall in love, a few minor subplots in the mix, a couple of plot twists and turns and a nice dose of bodice ripping on top of it all. Plus, it is set in the 1800’s West which was nice.

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Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard

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source: free copy via AmazonVine
title: Listen to Me
author: Hannah Pittard
genre: psychological thriller
published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (July 5, 2016)
pages: 191
first line: They were on the road later than they intended.
rated: misleading

Blurb:

A modern gothic about a marriage and road trip gone hauntingly awry.

Mark and Maggie’s annual drive east to visit family has gotten off to a rocky start. By the time they’re on the road, it’s late, a storm is brewing, and they are no longer speaking to one another. Adding to the stress, Maggie — recently mugged at gunpoint — is lately not herself, and Mark is at a loss about what to make of the stranger he calls his wife. When they are forced to stop for the night at a remote inn, completely without power, Maggie’s paranoia reaches an all-time and terrifying high. But when Mark finds himself threatened in a dark parking lot, it’s Maggie who takes control.

My Thoughts:
Okay, so I am upset. When I grabbed a copy of Listen to Me I expected a thrilling story, one I could enjoy on a cool Fall evening while sipping a cup of tea. What I discovered was that I wanted to throw the book across the room when I was done reading.

On one hand this was a quiet, tense story about a married couple who are beginning to doubt one another. On the other hand, I found this book to be falsely marketed, the blurb is misleading: “When they are forced to stop for the night at a remote inn, completely without power, Maggie’s paranoia reaches an all-time and terrifying high. But when Mark finds himself threatened in a dark parking lot, it’s Maggie who takes control.” This one is supposed to be a psychological thriller, I found nothing really thrilling about it and was upset with the turn the book took towards the end. It certainly is not a “modern gothic” as the blurb suggests. Come on people.

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Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

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source: purchased
title: Flowers In The Attic (Dollanganger Book 1)
author: V.C. Andrews
genre: Gothic fiction/YA fiction/Classic
published: 1979
pages: 359
first line: It is so appropriate to color hope yellow, like that sun we seldom saw.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars for being entertaining and twisted
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Blurb:
A major Lifetime movie event—the novel that captured the world’s imagination and earned V.C. Andrews a fiercely devoted fanbase. Book One of the Dollanganger Family series.

At the top of the stairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent, and struggling to stay alive…

They were a perfect family, golden and carefree—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed. Kept on the top floor of their grandmother’s vast mansion, their loving mother assures them it will be just for a little while. But as brutal days swell into agonizing months and years, Cathy, Chris, and twins Cory and Carrie realize their survival is at the mercy of their cruel and superstitious grandmother…and this cramped and helpless world may be the only one they ever know.

Book One of the Dollanganger series, followed by Petals in the Wind, If There be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows.

My thoughts:
(minor spoilers)

Flowers In The Attic is a blast from the past for me. I remember seeing the 1987 film version as a tween and I read this book and the second in series, Petals on the Wind when I was pregnant with my son. He’s twenty now, so it has been a while since I revisited this series.

I have been on a trend lately, with reading books published in the 70’s like Stephen King’s Carrie, I think I will keep that up. I like the nostalgic vibe to these stories. Continue reading

Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman

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source: free review copy courtesy of amazon vine
title: Sweet Forgiveness
author: Lori Nelson Spielman twitter
first line: It went on for one hundred sixty-three days.
pages: 355
published: 2015
genre: fiction/womens fiction
rated: Moving and beautifully written.
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blurb:
#1 international bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman follows The Life List with Sweet Forgiveness, in which a woman’s receipt of two “forgiveness stones” sends her searching for atonement

The Forgiveness Stones craze is sweeping the nation—instantly recognizable pouches of stones that come with a chain letter and two simple requests: to forgive, and then to seek forgiveness. But New Orleans’ favorite talk show host, Hannah Farr, isn’t biting. Intensely private and dating the city’s mayor, Hannah has kept her very own pouch of Forgiveness Stones hidden for two years—and her dark past concealed for nearly two decades. But when Fiona Knowles, creator of the Forgiveness Stones, appears on Hannah’s show, Hannah unwittingly reveals on air details of a decades-old falling out with her mother.

Spurned by her fans, doubted by her friends, and accused by her boyfriend of marring his political career, Hannah reluctantly embarks on a public journey of forgiveness. As events from her past become clearer, the truth she’s clung to since her teenage years has never felt murkier. Hannah must find the courage to right old wrongs, or risk losing her mother, and any glimmer of an authentic life, forever.

My thoughts:
It’s funny because last summer around this time I was reading this author’s debut novel The Life List while on vacation. The Life List was fantastic by the way.
So when I saw that Amazon Vine was offering Lori’s second novel, Sweet Forgiveness, I happily requested a copy.
The storyline follows Hannah Farr, a thirty something talk show host who receives Forgiveness Stones from a former classmate who bullied her. This same old classmate has become somewhat of a celebrity after coming up with the idea of the stones and writing a book about forgiveness. The idea behind the stones is to accept one stone and someones apology and give the second stone away to ask for forgiveness or to forgive someone else.

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