10 March 2012

A Romance that is definitely worth reading!!

Let me start by saying, I am not a huge fan of Romance books. In the case ofBeautiful Disaster I am more than willing to make an exception. This book captured my interest from page one and held it throughout the entire book. More than just a romance book, Laura Spinella's debut novel contains an intriguing back story that grabbed the mystery/thriller loving portion of my brain and left me chewing on several theories as the story progressed. While this part of the story was by no means the main event, nor really even entirely fleshed out, it kept me reading through the more formulaic romance aspects of the book. And even that portion of the book was above average. Rather than being one dimensional, Spinella's characters were flawed, which only added to their allure. At some point in the book each character was poised to make choices that left me shaking my head and saying, "What were you thinking????" Did the story contain all the formulaic pieces of a typical romance? Yes, it did. BUT -- this was much more than just a boy and girl meet, fall in love, become estranged, get back together, and live happily ever after story. It was a richly told story about people, they choices they make, and the impact throughout their lives of those choices

07 March 2012

Although a good one, not what I was expecting

How does a reader decide whether to read a book? A strange way to start a review, I know, but it is an intregal part of my rating on this book. If an author is new or unknown to me and my reading buddies, often I will choose to read or not read a book based on its published synopsis. Such was the case with The Ninth Step by Barbara Taylor Sissel. I had never given much thought to the title of the book, but it was apparent early in the story that it referred the the ninth step in AA's 12 step program, the one where a person makes amends. 

Let me just state upfront that the rating on this book has more to do with expectations and less to do with the quality of the story. I enjoyed the story of Cotton O'Dell and his quest to make amends in his life to those that were impacted by a single bad choice that he made. I thought the author did a good job with the character of Cotton, detailing his myriad of emotions as his quest for sobriety and redemption progressed. I actually think I would have liked the book a lot more if it had been marketed as such. At least then I would have known what to expect. 

I really wanted to give this book 4 stars, but just could not quite do it. Why? First of all, because the synopsis set up the story in a way that the author did not deliver. I felt that the story was really about Cotton and that Livie was a very minor player in the grand scheme of things. In fact, the best part of the story, Cotton's relationship with his mother, and with the Latimer family, isn't even mentioned in the synopsis, yet these are the relationships that make the meat of the story. I felt that there were many things in the synopsis that the author did not deliver on, while leaving out the things that really made the story fly. It was almost as is, somewhere along the line, a decision was made that the story would get a better following if it was marketed as a romantic redemption story rather than what it actually was. The chronicle of one man's quest to pull himself out of the thralls of alcholism and get his life back on track.