Sunday, October 25, 2009

Read-it-First: Gorgeous East

St. Martin's Read-it-First program allowed recently us to preview Gorgeous East, by Robert Girardi. A novel about the French Foreign Legion. At first I thought this was going to be an interesting read. An older gentleman, a legionnaire, notices a young woman and instantly deduces that she is suicidal. His deduction is correct and he goes to incredible lengths to save her; however, the aftermath of this event is a bit too unrealistic for me – girl sleeps with man. There is not much more to the preview than this.

I didn't find the characters to be interesting or likable. I felt as though things were being rushed and forced. On a positive note, the descriptions were beautifully written and I did enjoy the sprinkling of phrases written in other languages. Unfortunately, this is not a book that I will be picking up.

Looking forward to the next preview!

Read-it-First: The Christmas Secret

Several weeks ago, St. Martin's Read-it-First program allowed us to preview The Christmas Secret, by Donna VanLiere. A novel where not only the characters but also the reader will experience the true meaning of love, hope, family and sacrifice. In this installment, we are first introduced to Angela Christine as a child. This is done via a flashback to a Christmas from her past, an intriguing introduction. It brought back a lot of childhood memories, although mostly sad ones. The preview also gives us a peak into the adult life of Angela Christine. Presently, it is not a happy one. She is the mother of two children, has a deadbeat ex-husband and is on the verge of losing another job. We are also introduced to Jason, an out of work accountant with a chip on his shoulders – he thinks that he is above working in the family business, a department store. Will the paths of these two individuals cross? I'd say yes, if you want to believe the writeup on the book jacket.

The writing was fine and the characters likable. This is a book that I would like to know more about.

Looking forward to the next preview!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Read-it-Frist: There Goes the Bride

Last week, St. Martin's Read-it-First program allowed us to preview There Goes the Bride, the twentieth installment in the Agatha Raisin series, by M.C. Beaton. Agatha has gone from being an amateur to a professional detective in this series. In this installment, Agatha is dreading the upcoming marriage of her ex-husband, James Lacey. Try as she might to move on, she can't seem to stay out of her ex-husband's life. When James' fiance is murdered moments before the wedding, Agatha becomes the prime suspect. Will she be cleared? I have no doubt.

The preview had some incidents that I found amusing and some that I found painful (for the lovelorn Agatha). The writing was fine. The pages provided for this cozy mystery brought us to the day before the wedding. No mysteries or puzzles could be found. I love a good mystery; however, I don't believe that I will be reading anymore of this story. Unfortunately, the book, characters and I just did not click. I didn't like Agatha.

Looking forward to this week's preview!

Read-it-First: Ladies of the Lake

Several weeks ago, St. Martin's Read-it-First program allowed us to preview Ladies of the Lake, by Haywood Smith. It is a story about four sisters forced to confront both their past and present relationships with one another. In the preview, we are introduced to the sisters, as children, and get a snapshot of the family dynamic. Two of the sisters are portrayed as natural enemies and are constantly at odds with one another. The preview then jumps to the present - the sisters are now adults and have grown children of their own. Allusions are made that lead me to believe that the aforementioned contentious behavior still exists. Towards the end of the preview, the sisters' grandmother dies. Is this the catalyst to reunite the sisters and send them on their journey to confront the past? I think so.

The preview pages are well written. Ms. Haywood was able to capture my interest from the start. How? There is a promise made to reveal some family secrets to the reader. I want to know what those secrets are. The sisters have quickly become part of my world due to Ms. Haywood's character development. I like them – even the ones that are cantankerous. I have a clear sense of who they are.

Several more previews to review!