Well, I had, and still do, plan to be better about writing this year, yet this is my first blog for 2008. I really will get into the groove of things, I promise. I have been reading, in the meantime, and have finished a few books. Below are reviews for two of them. I’m still not to the point where I’m blogging for each, but maybe someday. For today, Seduction of the Crimson Rose and When Crickets Cry–both worthy reads.
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig
This is the book that I won an advance copy of in December (the release date is sometime in early February). It arrived just in time for me to read it at the beginning of Winter Break, and it was just what the doctor ordered as I wound down from a very intense semester of teaching, grading, and coaching.
In this book, Ms. Mary Alsworthy and Lord Vaughn team up with the Pink Carnation to roust out the Pink Carnation’s most vile enemy: The Black Tulip. Because the Black Tulip is losing operatives and Mary fits the physical characteristics of the Tulip’s other petals, Mary is recruited to join the cause. While Mary initially doesn’t want to give Vaughn the satisfaction of agreeing, she finally realizes that this is her ticket to another Season and her last chance to land a profitable marriage proposal. What ensues is a tale of twists and turns including another woman, an attempt on Vaughn’s life, strength that Mary didn’t know she had, and, of course, love.
Although I wasn’t a fan of the two main characters when introduced to them in previous books, Willig crafts them into, quite possibly, the most realistic couple of her series to date. Each of these characters grow: Mary from an insipid, selfish girl to a woman who knows and protects what she wants and Vaughn from an uncaring, shallow, and emotionally closed off fop to a man of substance who loves deeply and believes in the cause of the Pink Carnation against all odds.
The story itself is well written and engaging, though not as much as some of the others in the series—part of this could be Willig’s focus on developing the characters. However, even though not the best of her stories, the story is engaging, suspenseful, and surprising in places. The modern story which Willig expertly weaves throughout the historical story is just as engaging; I often found myself thumbing through the pages to continue that story line and then go back to the historical. I can’t help but get more and more excited as I see the relationship between Eloise and Collin grow as their banter remains witty and, thus, funny; I often find myself laughing out loud as these two spar.
Overall, I really liked this book; it’s another worthy sequel in this series. The story is engaging, the characters are believable, and the writing is fluid.
Recommendation: Stinkin’ good!
When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
“She was small for her age. Probably six, maybe even seven, but looked more like four or five. A tomboy’s heart in a china doll’s body.” Thus begins When Crickets Cry.
WOW! That about covers it for this book.
Annie is a seven year old who needs a new heart, and Reese is a man with a past. The two meet when Reese buys a cup of lemonade at Annie’s stand. What happens in the first few minutes of their meeting changes the lives of both of these people with broken hearts. This is a beautiful story of love, healing, and redemption.
This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. It’s not only well written, it’s beautifully written. As Martin describes the sights, sounds, and smells of
The story itself is touching. After the first few pages, I was hooked. It has been a long time since I’ve been this hooked to a book this quickly. I felt as if I knew each of the characters and felt their emotional highs and lows as they journeyed through the hard process of healing. While the author is purposely predictable in one aspect, he unfolds the rest of the story in unexpected ways which intensifies the depth of emotion I felt for each of the characters as I felt like I was on the journey with them all.
A word of caution: be prepared for tears. After I hit about page 100, I seriously got teary, at the least, each time I picked up the book. Therefore, my advice is to read with Kleenex handy and not read while sitting on a bus traveling with a bunch of teenagers—fortunately, my speech and debate team is used to my oddities.
Rating: Seriously, MUST, MUST, MUST, MUST read this book NOW!