Wildflower Bride

I recently won a book in a giveaway on Goodreads, Wildflower Bride, by Mary Connealy. This book is the third in a series called Montana Marriages, but it can be read by itself, without previously reading the other two books.

Wildflower Bride is considered Christian fiction, and I have to say, it was a much better read than the last Christian fiction book, (title and author will remain nameless), I won on Goodreads. The characters in this book were much more believeable.

Glowing Sun is a white woman raised by a Flathead Tribe. She has very few memories of her white family as they died when she was very young. However, these vague memories do provide her with her previous name, Abby Lind, a name that she takes once again after white men murder most of her tribe and a surviving member of her tribe blames her for what happened.

Wade Sawyer hears the shots fired on the village and rushes to the scene to find Glowing Sun bravely hacking away at a man who has tried to capture her. Wade steps in and comes to her rescue. At this point, we discover that Wade already loves this wild white woman.

Shortly thereafter, Wade receives news that his father has been injured and may be dying. Remembering the commandment to honor thy father and mother, Wade returns home to run the ranch for his abusive father. Abby, having nowhere else to go, joins him and helps to run his father’s house.

Of course, what happens next is predictable. Wade’s father finally softens, Wade succeeds in running the ranch, and at the end, he and Abby finally get married. Oh, and the murders end up being cattle rustlers that Wade’s father has hired on as hands on his ranch. They are dealt with accordingly.

This book is definitely not one I would have picked off the shelf myself, but it was a good story and definitely entertaining. It’s probably geared toward middle school or early high school students, but I still enjoyed it.


The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The new Stephenie Meyer novella came out earlier this month. I’ve been a bit too busy to read it the day it was released, but I was definitely excited to read it. I’ll be even more excited next week when Eclipse is out in theaters. 🙂

Bree Tanner was first introduced in Eclipse. She is a member of the newborn army that Victoria created in an attempt to destroy Bella and the Cullens. In Eclipse, we only get to see Bree and the newborns from Bella’s point of view. This novella was told in first-person, from Bree’s point of view. The author definitely succeeds in educating the reader about newborn vampires and providing details regarding what else is going on that leads up the fight scene at the end of Eclipse and at the end of this book.

I definitely felt empathy for Bree. Not knowing why she was created, she does her best to survive in a tough environment, volatile with about 20 other newborn vampires. Every day there is fighting and some lose limbs or their lives. However, Bree and her friends, Diego and Fred, are smart and learn that something is definitely going on. Riley, the one who carries out instructions from her, has been lying to them, but why? Finally, Riley reveals that they have an enemy, a weaker coven of yellow-eyed vampires, who even keep a human girl as a pet. This coven wants to take back Seattle as their hunting ground, but they must be stopped. Riley goes on to tell Bree that Diego has gone on ahead and will be waiting for her when they attack. But this is another lie, as she figures out what really happened between Riley and Diego.

Following behind the others, Bree finds herself in a clearing, facing the yellow-eyed coven. There is a pile of burning ashes and limbs from those of her own coven strewn everywhere. Bree actually finds herself relieved to see this. When one of the yellow eyes comes for her, she surrenders and tells him that she doesn’t want to fight. He and a female speak to her with more kindness than she’s known in her short vampire life, and she finds herself drawn to them and wanting to belong.

Then the Volturi arrive. I believe we all remember what happens to Bree at that point. The Cullens must protect their own family above a stranger that they just met. Bree remembers that there was a mind reader in the group and tries to project her thoughts to him, thanking him for avenging Diego and his family for attempting to save her. The last line in the book is “I closed my eyes.”

This book is definitely a nice addition to the Twilight Saga, and I found myself sorry that Bree’s life ended the way it did. Even in the introduction, Stephenie Meyer stated, “The closer I got to the inevitable end, the more I wished I’d concluded Eclipse just slightly differently.”

Heart of the Matter

I recently read Heart of the Matter, by Emily Giffin. It is the fifth book she has published, and in my opinion, it is another success. I do not believe that this was my favorite of her books, but even so, I enjoyed it, and it was definitely thought provoking.

One of the unique characteristics of Emily Giffin’s writing is that all her books are connected in some way, but they all can stand alone as well. All of the characters are connected, whether it be that the main character in this book cheated with her best friend’s fiance in that book, or maybe the character’s friend shows up in another book because he works with another character, etc. In this book, one of the main characters, Tessa Russo, is the sister of Dex, one of the main characters in the author’s first book. Anyway, moving on…

The book is told from the alternating view points of two women, Tessa and Valerie, which was definitely interesting at times.

Tessa Russo is the wife of renowned pediatric surgeon Nick Russo, and having recently given up her career, the new stay-at-home mom of their two young children. Definitely sounds like the perfect life to me, but Tessa can sometimes be too concerned about what the neighbors think, and how she measures up to the other Mommies. Her mother, who also gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mom, continues to offer her opinions to Tessa as to why it was a bad idea to give up her career. She continuously tells Tessa that it was a reason for her own divorce from Tessa’s father as she wasn’t as interesting, etc.

Valerie Anderson is a single mother, an attorney who is doing her best to raise her son Charlie. Her gay twin brother is the only constant male in her son’s life and does his best to help Valerie raise his nephew.

The book begins when Nick and Tessa are out to dinner to celebrate their anniversary. Of course, Nick didn’t switch his on call shift with another physician, so when he is paged in the middle of dinner, it cuts their date short. Tessa has always tried to be understanding of Nick’s career and tells herself that someone else needs him more at those moments that he’s helping injured children.

When Nick arrives at the hospital, he finds a badly burned child, Charlie, awaiting his expertise. Valerie, Charlie’s mother, finds comfort in Nick’s words and assurances that her son will be, and is, beautiful. With the instincts of a doctor, Nick wants to help Charlie, but those instincts quickly turn into something more. It’s almost as if he wants to save both Charlie and Valerie while casting aside the life he has made with the woman he, supposedly, loves.

This book was completely predictable in the plot, but not as much so in the resolution. Nick finally realizes that he really does love Tessa and that he’s hurt her in a way that most women can’t even imagine. After a few weeks of separation and not taking Nick’s calls, both of Tessa’s parents take her out for her birthday. This scene in the book was one of my favorites. Tessa’s divorced parents finally talk about the issues that ruined their marriage and Tessa realizes that she can forgive Nick, even if she can’t immediately trust him again.

I was left with a feeling of confusion after reading this. Mostly because the author made me think, “What if?” What if my husband did something like that? How would I react and what would I do? I honestly can’t imagine that. I think I probably would have behaved as Tessa did, kicking him out, claiming that I couldn’t stand the sight of him. However, I would probably also forgive him, (assuming he was sincerely sorry and groveling), and take him back as well. I love him too much to be without him. But that was all a hypothetical consideration, as my husband has said that he’s “too lazy” to cheat. (He was joking of course. Lazy isn’t the reason…)

The Elfstones of Shannara

It seems like it has been a long time since my last post. I have been so busy with work, and other things around the house, but I’ve still been reading when I can find a spare moment.

After giving The Sword of Shannara a break for a few months, I read the next and second book in the series, The Elfstones of Shannara. While I did enjoy this book slightly more than the first one, I still found something lacking. The storyline was fine, but I wanted more from the characters. I wanted them to make me believe they were real. I wanted more from the overall description of events, too. In short, I wanted more from the actual writing!

That being said….

This book focuses mostly on the Elves, who descended from powerful Fairies. Centuries ago, there was a battle between good and evil, and the Elves used their greates magic to lock away the evil demons behind a barrier, the Forbidding. At this time, they created a magical tree, the Ellcrys, to maintain the Forbidding. The Ellcrys was a beautiful tree, with silver bark and crimson leaves. However, she was more than a tree, she was a sentient being. Every year, she chose specific elves to act as her caretakers, called The Chosen. To be chosen was a great honor among the Elves. The most recent year, the Ellcrys chose all males except one, Amberle, the granddaughter of King Eventine Elessedil. There had not been a female Chosen in the last 500 years, and everyone, Amberle most of all, found this odd.

At the beginning of the book, one of the Chosen notices wilt on the Ellcrys. The Forbidding is failing as the Ellcrys is dying. In order to restore the Forbidding, the Ellcrys must give her seed to one of the Chosen, who then must carry to the seed to the place known as Safehold and bathe it in the Bloodfire. After the Forbidding began to crumble, some of the stronger demons were able to break through the barrier. They knew that the only hope for the tree to regain life lay with the Chosen, so they killed all of them. All except Amberle, who had forsaken her duties and disgraced her family and people by leaving. But now it appears that she may be the last hope.

Allanon once again makes an appearance, 50 years after Shea and Flick had their adventure with the Warlock Lord. He finds Shea’s grandson, Will, who is at Storlock training with the gnomes to be a healer. Shea had freely given the Elfstones to Will, thus also passing on the power to use them. After convincing Shea to come with him, the two travel to find Amberle, convincing her that she must undertake the task of ensuring the survival of the Ellcrys.

At this point, the story enters true epic fantasy mode. Will and Amberle travel across the land to collect the Ellcrys seed, then travel to the place called Safehold. The entire time, they are tracked by deadly demons and they meet many other interesting characters along the way. They succeed in their mission just in the nick of time, but only after many casualties of battle. Of course, Will and Amberle discover that they have “feelings” for each other along the way. And the kicker…

Amberle becomes the Ellcrys. That’s right. She turns into a tree. But the Elves and the rest of the world are now safe from the demons.

Anyway…I gave Terry Brooks another try. I liked this book better than the first in the series, but that’s really not saying much. Will I continue to read the series? Probably, but that’s due to my odd compulsion to finish what I start. We’ll see…