Showing posts with label Adult Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adult Fiction. Show all posts

Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan Brown

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  19,310 Ratings  ·  2,952 Reviews
Origin by Dan Brown download or read it online for free here
Origin by Dan Brown
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

“Historically, the most dangerous men on earth were men of God…especially when their gods became threatened.”

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. —WINSTON CHURCHILL”




     Where do we come from?
    Where are we going?

Yes, it's the new Dan Brown book. Yes, it's pulpy and ridiculous. But I have to say it-- it was really entertaining, too.

The thing about Brown is that he's a mediocre-at-best writer with really fascinating ideas. If you spend too much time analysing individual scenes and sentences, then you're going to start to see the cracks, big and small. Big cracks like world-renowned scientists jumping to ludicrous conclusions, and small cracks like world-renowned scientists suddenly knowing nothing about a subject so that Robert Langdon can inform them (and the reader) of some exciting tidbit.

And Langdon himself must be the stupidest genius ever written. He knows absolutely everything about everything until it's convenient for him to not know something so someone can explain it to him.

BUT, for some reason, Brown's plots and codes and puzzles are interesting enough to... kind of make it okay. At least for me. I love all the information about history, science and religion. I love how you can look up the organizations mentioned and find that they are all real. It's very much a plot over writing book, but sometimes that can be exactly what you need. Mindless, pageturning entertainment.

In Origin, famous scientist and billionaire Edmond Kirsch is about to make a world-changing announcement. His research and technology have led him to make a discovery about the origin of humankind, as well as their future destiny, that will shake the foundations of the world, tear apart religions, and change absolutely everything. He has essentially found answers to the two questions: Where do we come from? and Where are we going?

It's hard not to be drawn in by these universal questions. Then when the announcement event goes horribly wrong and it seems his discovery might be buried forever, Robert Langdon and Ambra Vidal must go on a clue-solving, code-breaking spree across Spain to uncover Kirsch's discovery. Throughout, all I could think was "what could his discovery be?" It would need to be something dramatic enough, something with impact... and, well, personally I loved the reveal.

    Fake news now carries as much weight as real news.

Origin draws on current events and hot topics to make it more relevant to today's world. Brown touches on subjects like "fake news", the advancement of technology and artificial intelligence, and the dark corners of the Internet. He may not be an amazing writer - whatever that means - but he does play on universal thoughts, fears and questions. It makes for a very compelling tale.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone looking for excellent writing, well-developed characters and a whole lot of sense-making. But if you want to sprint through an almost 500-page novel at breakneck pace and escape from thinking for a while, then it is very enjoyable.
Dan Brown is back with some of his best work in a while. I was not a huge fan of his last two – Inferno and The Lost Symbol. I think for me they seemed kind of stale after Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Origin is now probably my second favorite of his (behind Angels and Demons).

Some of the key points:

Religion and Science – this is a big battle in our world today. It is an exhausting battle for someone like me who goes to church but also loves science. I worry that the feeling is starting to be that the two cannot exist together. Dan Brown does a great job of addressing this debate in this book (even though at times I was worried that it was going to end up just being another annoying commentary on the same debate)

Lead Female Characters – Brown amuses me with every new lead female character. It is always a scientist, art expert, museum curator, etc. who just so happens to be one of the top 5 most beautiful women alive (he has 5 Langdon books, each with one of those top 5 ;) )

The Dan Brown formula – I will say that each of Brown’s book has basically the same structure. A mystery starts (usually in a museum, church, famous building). Langdon meets a woman (see above). Langdon and this woman run around trying to solve the mystery. Yes, that formula is here. However, that felt okay this time. The last two books it felt like old hat – almost like he was phoning it in. But, with this one I was kind of glad to get back into the same formula and he developed the plot and suspense well.

If you like Dan Brown – I recommend this.

If you thought maybe the Langdon series had no gas left – I recommend this.

If you want an interesting, thought-provoking mystery with a lot of suspense – I recommend this.
Nothing is invented, for its written in nature first. Originality consists of returning to the Origin." -Antoni Gaudi

Where did we come from? Where are we going? These are the two most basic, yet important questions mankind asks of itself. For thousands of years man has struggled with these questions and, in an attempt to fill the void where there is no definite absolute, has created stories and gods to explain the inexplicable.

This book, which is one of the most thrilling books I've read in ages, looks at the science behind "the Origin" while taking Robert Langdon and us on a mind blowing trip around Spain! Dan Brown began writing Science Fiction before he started his Langdon series. Origin harkens back to those days when his books were filled with startling scientific data more than religious codes and dogma. While there still is the religious aspect in the book, the sheer volume of scientific data in Origin is staggering - especially if you are fact checking everything as I was doing. I suspect there will be those who find the science in this book too overwhelming and will not enjoy the book as a result. I, however, wanted MORE!

Yes, there is a questioning of blind religious faith. Yes, Brown does once again shed light on extremists within the Catholic Church - as we should on all extremism. Yes, Brown does force the reader to look at fascism in a hard, cold light - AS WE ALL SHOULD!!! This book is one of the most timely, relevant fiction based on fact novels published in a long time. Already there are those who are saying it is "tripe." I daresay that they have not read the book OR it pointed a finger at them and they felt uncomfortable. This is not a "typical Dan Brown tromp." It is far better than that. The writing is impeccable, the characters fully developed and the research is thorough and well sussed. Moreover, it is a thriller that will keep you guessing until the end of the book which is exactly what thrillers should do.

And that, my friends, does not even allow for the surprise twist at the end!! The answer to "where are we going" left me dumbfounded, speechless, flabbergasted!! Yes. YES. YES!!! OMGOSH!!! The entire book is worth reading just to get to that point!! I almost closed the books hen I read it! I was too emotionally overwhelmed - but - the ending is beautiful! This a MUST READ book!! Go. Now. Get this book!!

I leave you with this riddle:
Ampersand phone home
Origin is not likely to win literary awards nor garner critical acclaim; for what it's worth though, it is darn entertaining.

Ever since I've picked up The Da Vinci Code, I've been hooked on the Robert Langdon books. I admit that I have a weakness for the formula Dan Brown utilises for his thrillers, employing an intoxicating mix of history, art, poetry, symbols, codes, and famous landmarks or architecture. A rousing adventure through exotic and renowned locations that have me reaching for Google search ever so often.

As usual, all the architecture and locations mentioned are real, and again it fuelled the wanderlust in me. This time with Spain as the backdrop, we have the bizarre and breath-taking Guggenheim Bilbao as the opening venue with a fair amount of exposition on some of its more notable modern art exhibits. Robert Langdon will then, of course, find himself heading from one famous location or landmark to another. The narrative becomes info-dumpy at these parts of the story; a little more than usual in this novel, which does make the pacing slower.

It goes without saying that the author went through a lot of research to produce his Robert Langdon series and it shows. This is probably the most critical component of his books which makes them so enjoyable for me. One that overcomes the fact that his stories are repetitive and his prose ordinary.

Nothing has changed as far as his plot structure and characterisation are concerned. It all starts with a murder, and somehow Robert will end up on the run, with a beautiful sidekick (be it a museum director or a scientist or some other expert of sorts), from some national guard or local police as well as an assassin with a tragic past. At the same time, he is also running against time to solve pertinent clues to unwind the mystery, etc. That said, there seemed to be less code-solving in this novel, which was a bit of a downer.

The real history that underscored this narrative highlighted the dark times of Spain under the military dictator, Francisco Franco. With the current political crisis in the same country, I couldn't help feeling that some strange twist of fate is at work here that would have this novel being released around the same time.

Origin will not win any points for originality. It is, however, a real page-turner. Despite not having the breakneck pace of some of its predecessors, I still find myself engrossed and captivated, unable to put the book down.

What I found compelling is the underlying theme which resonated quite deeply with me. It is about creation and destiny, and the vast divide between religion and science in answering the universal questions of 'Where do we come from?' and 'Where are we going?' It deals with relevant current issues around rapid technological advancements, especially in artificial intelligence and wearable technology, and the propagation of sensational or fake news fuelling conspiracy theories through ungovernable internet media.

If you are looking for non-cerebral page-turning entertainment, or if you are a Robert Langdon fan like me who can overlook certain flaws, I will recommend Origin.

To conclude, I'd like to post a quote of relevance to the story, from one of the world's greatest and most renowned scientists, who had been very outspoken about his religious views:

A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.

- Albert Einstein
 4.Pi to the sixth digit.
4.3141592 to be exact.

Mr. Brown, why dost thou hate the Catholic Church?
I read an article where Mr. Brown stated that he writes what he wants to read. I am certainly glad for that because he writes what I want to read too.
His books have been criticized for being formulaic and I agree that they are to a certain extent. But if I cared enough and had time enough I could list several more authors who churn out book after book that are also formulaic in nature who don't receive the same criticisms and harsh words about it as Mr. Brown does.
Enough of that, here are my thoughts on Origin.
Because the subject matter dealt with comparative myth and religion the story was right in my wheelhouse. I guessed who was behind all the shenanigans at about the half way point but that didn't deter from my enjoyment of the story.
The reason I decided not to rate this 5 stars is because some of the "info dumps" felt like I was reading Wikipedia entries. While learning about famous people, places, and things can be enlightening too much of it took me out of the flow of the narrative.
For example, there is a short explanation of the history of the ampersand (&) which was clever and interesting but on the other side of the coin was the many page exposition on the architecture of the Guggenheim Museum.
When I think about Langdon I can not help but picture Tom Hanks. When I picture Tom Hanks I picture Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump once said, "life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get". Well with Dan Brown you know what you are going to get. For me Dan Brown is the chocolate with the caramel inside and I love caramel. Yes it is familiar but that doesn't mean it doesn't taste good.

I called in sick (as much as you can call in sick from your weekly volunteer job) and cancelled a doctor's appt. to be home to get parcel from Amazon/Canada Post.

Sat down .. read it through straight to the end. 6 hours and 22 minute --- or approx. the length of 10 Danielle Steel reads.

Want to know what the book was about? Well ... read the synopsis.

I thoroughly enjoyed it but I now want a honking big glass of Spanish wine AND some tapas.
Robert Langdon, my dear old friend, thank you for coming back to me!

Okay. So.

Origin is another signature page-turning, heart-pounding, thought-provoking, Dan Brown novel. This Langdon thriller differs, however, in many respects from the previous four. Do you need to read the other Langdon novels to understand this one? NO. Each Langdon novel is very distinct. In fact, the nods to Robert Langdon's previous adventures are so minimal and slight that it's as though Langdon hasn't been involved in almost destroying the world a couple of times. Robert Langdon is like Seattle Grace Hospital (Grey's Anatomy). Why the hell would anyone continue to go to Seattle Grace Hospital? Well, the same goes for Langdon: why the hell would anyone invite Langdon along to, well, anything!? Anyways, I digress.

The main difference for this one is that this one was predictive rather than reactive, by which I mean Dan Brown is tackling the future (for the most part) instead of looking back at history. This may lack some punch for some readers who have become accustomed to Brown tackling controversial issues of human history (think Da Vinci Code, Lost Symbol, Angels & Demons). Here's a further explanation of what I mean:

Sure, Dan Brown does examine history in this novel; I mean, the title of the book literally is Origin . Buttttt, he isn't so much looking back at human history as he is looking back at the history of how life began. Hence, the first major question being asked in this novel: Where do we come from? And the answer Brown offers up is very thought-provoking and intriguing. And although there is a lot of truth (but also some conjecture) you can see how the implications of this finding would be earth-shattering for religion.

That said, the real point of this novel is to come to a conclusion about what happens to humans in the future. Hence the second main question posed in this novel: Where are we going? The answer to this question is purely conjecture (obviously we can't predict the future) but it is also very thought-provoking. I won't give anything away to someone who hasn't read the book yet, but I'll say that there is likely a lot of truth to where we are going...because it's already happening....

As to what I mean when I say this book is more predictive than reactive. Dan Brown incorporates a lot of descriptive art, architecture, and history, to give the illusion that there is a clue-filled historical hunt being undertaken, as was the case with Brown's famous novels like The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. However, this really is just an illusion of an historical hunt. There is nothing of the sort taking place in Origin. In Origin, there are hardly any clues hidden in paintings, hardly any ancient symbols left out for Langdon to solve. In The Da Vinci Code, Brown ingeniously devised a plot out of hundred-year-old symbology in paintings and sculptures, and often the reader was left gasping at these startlingly believable and thought-provoking clues. There is almost none of that in Origin. Mostly, this is just a thriller, through and through. It's a race against the clock, with history and art sprinkled in to give it that nice Dan Brown flavour. But, as I mentioned, those sprinkles are just an illusion. This book predicts the future and uses modern technology to do so, which is what makes it a book of prediction. It uses super-powerful computers to help aid Langdon and his beautiful sidekick through to the conclusion. There is a handy-dandy character in this book named Winston (those who've read this know who I'm talking about *wink wink*), without whom Langdon would have gotten nowhere. Winston is the deus ex machina for this book.

Part of my disappointment with this book was that it felt as though Brown got lazy with his puzzles and clues. His previous books used clever and sometimes ingenious clues. The clues in this one were kind of lazy and easy. I mean, even I knew what BIO-EC346 was... I came to realize this book wasn't so much about the journey as it was the outcome. The outcome ended up being worthwhile, which was a relief.

In many ways, this book is eerily relevant. Kirsch is essentially Elon Musk (who happens to be a good friend of Kirsch). And the central question of where we are going toys with our sense of morality. What do we want from our future? Do we have a choice, even? You will find yourself wondering just how much damage humans are doing with their complacency and ignorance to the power of artificial intelligence. The painful reality is that, for the majority of society (the poor and powerless), we have no choice in the matter of where we are heading.

One thing to caution someone who picks this book up: be patient. The book does get good, but you have to get yourself through the first 200 pages or so, then the action starts.

A few little cool bits I picked up on. Langdon mentions a hotel he once ate at in Spain: Gran Hotel Princesa Sofia - a cute little reference to Princess Sofia from Da Vinci Code. Also, on page 428: the king of Spain tells his son, "And history has proven repeatedly that lunatics will rise to power again and again on tidal waves of aggressive nationalism and intolerance, even in places where it seems utterly incomprehensible.....that light will fade unless we illuminate the minds of our future generations." Probably a jab at a current somebody holding the highest office in America.

Anyway, another great novel and so happy to see Langdon return. Well worth the read, in my opinion! Pick this book up, engage your mind, and have a discussion with your friends. That's the purpose of Dan Brown books, after all.

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  561,499 Ratings  ·  11,186 Reviews
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks download or read online for free
A Walk to Remember
by Nicholas Sparks
Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he'd fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town's Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it.

Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter's life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood...

Did You Know?-

That Jamie was named after Nicholas's editor, Jamie Raab?

That Landon is the name of his third son?

That Nicholas Sparks recorded his own reading for the audio version of the novel?

“Love is like the wind, you can't see it but you can feel it.”

“Without suffering, there'd be no compassion.”

“I held her close to me with my eyes closed, wonering if anything in my life had ever been this perfect and knowing at the same time that it hadn't. I was in love, and the feeling was even more wonderful than I ever imagined it could be.”  

“Do you love me?' I asked her. She smiled. 'Yes.' 'Do you want me to be happy?' as I asked her this I felt my heart beginning to race. 'Of course I do.' 'Will you do something for me then?' She looked away, sadness crossing her features. 'I don't know if I can anymore.' she said. 'but if you could, would you?' I cannot adequately describe the intensity of what I was feeling at that moment. Love, anger, sadness, hope, and fear, whirling together sharpened by the nervousness I was feeling. Jamie looked at me curiously and my breaths became shallower. Suddenly I knew that I'd never felt as strongly for another person as I did at that moment. As I returned her gaze, this simple realization made me wish for the millionth time that I could make all this go away. Had it been possible, I would have traded my life for hers. I wanted to tell her my thoughts, but the sound of her voice suddenly silenced the emotions inside me. 'yes' she finally said, her voice weak yet somehow still full of promise. 'I would.' Finally getting control of myself I kissed her again, then brought my hand to her face, gently running my fingers over her cheek. I marveled at the softness of her skin, the gentleness I saw in her eyes. even now she was perfect. My throat began to tighten again, but as I said, I knew what I had to do. Since I had to accept that it was not within my power to cure her, what I wanted to do was give her something that she'd wanted. It was what my heart had been telling me to do all along. Jamie, I understood then, had already given me the answer I'd been searching for, the answer my heart needed to find. She'd told me outside Mr. Jenkins office, the night we'd asked him about doing the play. I smiled softly, and she returned my affection with a slight squeeze of my hand, as if trusting me in what I was about to do. Encouraged, I leaned closer and took a deep breath. When I exhaled, these were the words that flowed with my breath. 'Will you marry me?”


This was my first book by Sparks, and let me tell you, it. was. perfect. It’s so hard writing reviews for books you absolutely love, and this review will not do this book justice, so just bear with me.

I was pretty unsure about this book at first, and when I was told by a friend to read a Sparks book, absolutely any of my choosing, I didn’t really want to. But, despite not wanting to read I book by him, because I was being stubborn and thought I would absolutely hate it, I went on my library’s website and looked up Nicholas Sparks. Searching through the titles, the only one that was available was A Walk To Remember, and I took it and started reading it. Let me just say that I am so happy this book was the only one available, because if a started with, let's say The Guardian, I don’t think I would’ve continued reading Nicholas Sparks’ books.

Now, back to the story. I knew Sparks is known for writing tear-jerkers, and I knew what was coming at the end. What I didn’t know was how hard it would hit me, and that I’d be crying my eyes out at midnight. Yes, the book is pretty slow moving, but once it gets to the story, you won’t want to put it down. At least I didn’t want to put it down.

Immediately after I was done reading the book (and after I was done crying), I jumped on my computer, went on to Amazon and immediately bought this book, so I can read it again. And I will. I will absolutely be reading A Walk To Remember again. It’s a beautiful book, with quite possibly one of my favorite characters of all time (Jamie), and I can only hope everyone I recommend this book to loves it as well.

So please, even if you’re skeptical to start reading Sparks like I was, go to your library and ask if they have A Walk To Remember. Oh yeah, and please like it! (And I'm sorry for the crappy and barely-anything-to-do-with-the-book review.)
I am surprised by how much I liked this one. This was my first Nicholas Sparks read and after years of it being recommended to me I finally gave in.

I expected a by the numbers, cliche, love story. And it was in a way, but the characters were great and so the journey was great. And sad.

You know where this is headed from the very beginning in a way, but it still surprises you at points.
And no, I did not cry... I think... Maybe... Manly tears only...
"Promise me, that you won't fall in love with me" says Jamie Sullivan to Landon Carter at the beginning of the novel. Nicholas Sparks might as well be telling me that because I picked this book based on my friend Patrick who has been insisting that this is the best Sparks. 
You see this is my 6th Sparks. I stopped after reading Safe Haven (2 stars) because I got tired of his Hallmark-kind of storytelling. So, I decided to give Sparks another try with a big doubt whether I would like this. This is the reason why it took me more than a month to finish this book. I started it and after few pages, I stopped. Promised that I would not like it. Too cheesy for my taste. Then started all over again then stopped again. Where was I? I forgot the story already. Then for the last 3 days, as I wanted to please my friend Patrick, I read without stopping and I really liked it.

It's an easy read and the characters, though caricaturish, are sweet and lovable. I mean, the world is full of treachery and duplicitous people but here are Sparks' characters that are their total opposites. This book is totally an escapist work but I love it. It changes the panorama of how we view the world say from dusky and smuggy to sunny, clear with pink-tinted gloss. It's nice to escape to reality and this book is a nice way to do it.

Reading Sparks is like eating at McDonald's. Of course I read more cerebral and serious books than this. Those are the healthy stuff or the steaks or those hard-to-pronounce French cuisine or those burned Meditterean veggies or those real raw treats in a Japanese resto. Despite having all those choices for good books, I still pick, once-in-a-while, a Sparks. We know what to expect and we can't deny that we like it. Just like going to McDonald's. We always see it our our way to work and we know that it is not healthy. But still pass by to have a quick fix for our hunger and we cannot deny that we like it.
I fall in love with this book more and more each time I read it :) This is my favorite book and I'm glad I made it a tradition to reread it every year :)

Read for the first time: 2002? 2003?
Read for the second time: 2009?
Read for the third time: December 9, 2013
Read for the fourth time: December 3, 2014
Read for the fifth time: November 19, 2015
Read for the sixth time: December 4, 2016
What can I say? I can't even begin to explain how wonderful this book was. 
Once again, Nicholas Sparks outdone himself. When I first started reading this, I didn't expect much, seeing as how it was a tragedy and I don't really care for tragedies, after the disaster with Romeo and Juliet LOL. However, there was something more to this book than other sad books I've read in my life. For one, this book touched my heart-REALLY touched my heart- and made me ask myself all these questions about love and miracles. This is like, the only book in my life that gave me that heartwarming I-want-to-be-a-better-person feeling. I love how at the beginnning Landon was just an ordinary high school student who took the smallest details of life for granted, but after meeting Jamie, he saw life and love in a new perspective. THIS is the kind of book that could be the new Twilight. I feel like people need more of these heartwarming, inspiring stories and I'm very grateful to Mr. Sparks for teaching me a lesson that I'm sure others need to learn.

First off, I would like to praise the book cover. Fits the theme and book title perfectly. It reminds me of autumm, memories,walking, and lives changing. To me, the book cover shows how 57-years-old Landon flashbacks to his senior year when he was a 17-year-old. Even just looking at the cover makes my insides turn all gooey and reminds me of all Jamie and Landon had to gone through. :'(

Next, I'd like to say I love the whole romance thing. How a twist of fate could change a boy's life and make him see what life has to offer him. When Landon asked Jamie to go to the school dance, little did he know it would only be the beginning of a long-time memory that would last with him forever. It's so neat how Jamie and Landon would later fall in love with each other, even though they never expected the unexpected to happen. The tiny moments they had with each other (rehersing the play, helping out at orphanages, talking on her front porch, etc.) were beautiful, and makes me fall in love with the book even more. The whole process of falling for each other ,even though they didn't expect to, was heartlifting and makes the book all the better. That is what I expect in YA novels. I love how time after time they realize they're in love, instead of those stupid I-love-you-so-much-even-after-knowing-you-for-a-week romance.

I also enjoy getting to know the two main leads. Jamie is probably the most inspiring, most unselfish main character that I've ever known. She makes me want to be a better person, and she makes Landon feel that way, too. Two weeks ago, I didn't give a rat's ass about poor people or orphans. Now, however, after reading this book, I start thinking of miracles and small differences to make the world a better place. And the most inspiring, most saddest thing about Jamie was how she knew she was dying for, like, a year but during that year she still wanted to help others in need. Besides inspiring and unselfish, Jamie is also one of the bravest characters I know. She still stay optimistic, even when nature took its course. If I were in her place, I don't think I could be as brave as her. =')

I also love Landon! Like I said earlier, I think it's amazing how he never notice life's smallest details until he met Jamie. Before, he didn't give much thinking into making a difference, but then after getting to know Jamie, he fell in love and wanted to make his girl proud of him by making small but genuine gestures. I believe that that is what made him a strong, amazing man at the end of the book. For example, at the end of the book, when Landon said he finally believed in miracles, I think he means that Jamie was his miracle, and that he was Jamie's miracle. I believe that is what shaped him up. He's one of the best growing characters that I'd read about. And the scene when he married to Jamie was like the most beautiful, lovely, heartbreaking, powerful thing I've ever read in my life!!!!!!!!!! :)))

Now that my point is carried across, it's time to wrap things up. This was a very good book, and was the first and only book that made me cry in a long time. I could read this a thousand times, and I would still choke up a bit. It was a beautiful, heartwarming, powerful tearjerker. I had just watch the movie for the first time just today, which caused me to write this review. In my opinion, the movie was better than the novel, because the movie went deeper than what the book did. Plus, it made me cry even more than the book. Now everytime I see the book's cover, or listen to Mandy Moore's songs "Cry" and "Only Hope", or even think about the lovers behind the most amazing love story ever, I would break down in tears. Yes, AWTR was THAT amazing. It's saying something when a book/movie makes me extremely depressed for three days.

A Little Harmless by Melissa Schroeder

A Little Harmless by Melissa Schroeder (Harmless Books 1-8)

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless SEX (Harmless #1)

A Little Harmless Sex by Melissa Schroeder download or read it online for free
A Little Harmless Sex by Melissa Schroeder
Is it love, or just a little harmless sex? Book one in the Harmless series.
Max has always been Anna's knight in shining armor. But Max has always seen her as a charming, and very sexy, little sister.

Until Max's cold fiance dumps him, Anna unloads another of her many conquests and she invites him over for margaritas and Mexican food. Too much tequila, too much flirting, and too many years of fighting the attraction -- Max loses control and has mind-blowing sex with Anna on her couch. And in her shower. And in her bed.

When the sun rises the next morning, both of them must face that their night together is just the first of many. For Max, he knows he wants Anna forever, but convincing a commitment-phobe like Anna is no easy task. For Anna, she can't believe she has finally slipped beneath Max's steely self-control. He is every woman's dark, wet fantasy come true. But what happens when the Max pushes Anna for more than just A Little Harmless Sex?

Warning, this title contains the following, explicit sex, graphic terms for body parts, torture via silk stockings, a little spanking, and shower and office sex.

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Pleasure (Harmless #2)

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Pleasure (Harmless #2) download or read it online for free
Melissa Schroeder -
A Little Harmless Pleasure (Harmless #2)

Is it love, or a little harmless pleasure?

Second in the Harmless series.

Cynthia Myers meets Chris Dupree at her former fiance s wedding. After a little dancing, and champagne, she ends up back in Chris s hotel room. For one night of down and dirty sex. That s it, that s all. He lives far away, and she has other things to do like get a life.

Chris is a switch. He likes to dominate but he also likes to play the role of a submissive from time to time. His last relationship with a sub turned nasty and since then, he has shied away from anything but straight vanilla sex. When he meets Cynthia, he finds a woman who could change his mind. His mate. The only problem is he has to convince her.

In a carefully orchestrated seduction, Chris teaches Cynthia about submission and dominance, allowing her take the reins. As he leads her through pleasures she thought she d never experience, Cynthia s self confidence soars and she finds herself falling in love with him. But, when he asks for submission in the bedroom, can she surrender to prove her love or was it all about a little harmless pleasure?

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Obsession (Harmless #3)

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Obsession (Harmless #3) download or read it online for free
Melissa Schroeder -
A Little Harmless Obsession (Harmless #3)
What begins as a quest for submission becomes an unrelenting need for love.

May Aiona’s crush on sexy Evan Chambers is a bad habit that should be easy to break. It’s not like he’s ever noticed her. Looking for a safe place to release the reins of control and explore her curiosity about BDSM, May takes a friend up on an invitation to visit an exclusive bondage club—all she has to agree to is a public submission.

Evan can’t help but notice the exotically beautiful May. But despite his success, the dirty secrets of his past whisper that he’ll never be good enough for her. When Evan sees her standing in his club ready to submit to his best friend, he gives in to the thing he wants most—May as his sub. After their session, he knows one night will never be enough. But loving May isn’t easy for a man always ready to take charge. She might like to submit in the bedroom, but she doesn’t like anyone telling her what to do outside of it.

When May insists she’s not in any danger from the person seemingly obsessed with her, she ends up in the sights of a deranged stalker—with Evan possibly too far away to help.

Warning: This book contains sexy Hawaiian settings, crazy relatives, and a submission scene that leaves the heroine breathless and the hero frustrated. There are toys, bondage, and love scenes so hot, you’ll need ice water and a towel. Remember, it’s a Harmless story, so you know there’s nothing harmless about it

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Lie (Harmless #4)

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Lie (Harmless #4) download or read it online for free
Melissa Schroeder -
A Little Harmless Lie (Harmless #4)
Falling for her might be easy, seducing her may be damned hard, but keeping her alive might just be deadly.

Harmless, Book 4

Coming from nothing, Micah Ross now has more than he knows what to do with. His Hawaii BDSM club is flourishing, and he has his pick of women. Except one. Dee Sumners is cute, sexy, feisty and, since she s on his payroll, off-limits. Plus, she insists she isn t into the life. Until one heated kiss hints that his head bartender secretly hungers to be his sub.

Life on the run doesn t allow Dee to indulge in long-term relationships. Still, Micah manages to work his way through her tough armor and under her skin. Yet even as she succumbs to his skilled seduction, her survival instinct forms a plan to leave the island she has grown to love and the man she s in danger of loving.

When Dee disappears, Micah s anger turns to fear when he realizes she didn t leave willingly. Calling on his skills as a former bounty hunter, he tracks her to the mainland only to discover she is entangled in a web of lies and deceit that not only threatens their love, but her life.Warning: This book contains more Hawaiian settings, a Native American Dom who always thinks he s right, a woman on the run, sexy kisses, murderous relatives, a trip to Sin City, and a seduction that is sweet and hot and everything in between. Ice water and a towel are recommended while reading. "

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Addiction (Harmless #5)

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Addiction (Harmless #5) download or read it online for free
Melissa Schroeder -
A Little Harmless Addiction (Harmless #5)
Falling in love might not be the smart thing, but it might be the one thing they both need. Harmless, Book 5Jocelyn Dupree has come to Hawaii to heal. After a horrific experience with her last boss, she is on the mend and ready to start again. She is focused on rebuilding her life and her career as a pastry chef. She definitely doesn t need a man in her life, or so she thinks.Kai Aiona has always been the guy to mend a broken heart. Unfortunately, the last heart that was broken was his. He has sworn off damaged women, but he can t resist Jocelyn s sad eyes, not to mention her determination to succeed.
One little date turns into several and soon, Jocelyn finds herself easily addicted to Kai s sensual nature. Resisting him becomes impossible, but Jocelyn isn t ready to trust completely. When Kai discovers she hasn t been telling him everything, Jocelyn is left with two choices: trust her heart, or let the one man she has ever loved go."

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Submission (Harmless #6)

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Submission (Harmless #6) download or read it online for free full
Melissa Schroeder -
A Little Harmless Submission (Harmless #6)
For a tough as nails Dom hunting a sadistic serial killer is nothing compared to losing his heart.
Rome Carino is hunting a predator. One who likes to hurt submissives and the most popular BDSM club’s patrons are being targeted. With each fresh kill, he gets more brazen. Rome knows he just needs one little break, but before he can make headway, the FBI shows up. Worse, the uptight, buttoned-down Special Agent Maria Callahan suggests a plan that is dangerous, but worth it because it might just catch the killer. If Rome can keep his mind on the case and off the beautiful FBI agent, he'll be just fine.
Maria is still trying to step out of her legendary father's shadow and knows just how to do it. Luring the killer by posing as Rome's new sub seems like a good idea. That is, until undercover becomes real life and she finds herself tangled up with a man who amazes and scares her at the same time. Her growing attraction to the Honolulu Police Detective is a little too much to handle. Even knowing that, she can't help falling in love with the tough Dom and losing herself in the games they play in the bedroom.

Rome is overwhelmed by his need for Maria. He has never had a sub respond to him the way she does and no matter what he does, he feels himself slipping off that cliff into love. As their relationship starts to unfold, he realizes that he will do anything to win her heart, to convince her to become his sub for a lifetime. But before he can do anything, the killer turns his attention on Rome and the one thing he holds dear: Maria.

WARNING: The following book contains: A Dom who thinks he can do no wrong, a new sub who is about to teach him he can, palm trees, a trip or two to Rough ‘n Ready, a flirty Aussie Dom with questionable motives, old friends, and a new enemy. Yeah, it might be called Harmless, but you Addicts know it’s anything but.

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Fascination (Harmless #7)

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Fascination (Harmless #7) download or read it online for free full
Melissa Schroeder - A Little
Harmless Fascination (Harmless #7)
Wanting her isn't smart, seducing her is inevitable, but falling in love with her could be downright deadly for both of them.
A Little Harmless Fascination
Harmless Book 7

Security expert Conner Dillon isn’t a man who often takes a vacation. So when he is ordered to take a month off and his sister insists on a trip to Hawaii, he isn’t very happy. But, after seeing his landlady Jillian Sawyer again, he might just find something—or someone—to occupy his time.

For years, Jillian has always had a crush on Conner. Now an erotic romance author with a thing for Doms, she finds herself beyond intrigued by the man. He is good to the core, but there is something else darker in him that calls to her.
After one night in bed, they both find themselves addicted. In Jillian, Conner has found the perfect sub…and in him she finds someone she can trust. Falling in love isn’t what they expected, but walking away is impossible—especially when they realize someone wants Jillian dead.

WARNING this book contains the following: An uptight security expert who prefers schedules, a romance writer who does not, tattoos, a trip to the Aloha Swap Meet, two hunky neighbors who irritate our hero, Hawaiian scenes, and of course this would not be a Harmless book without a trip to Rough 'n Ready. Ice is recommended as any Harmless Addict will tell you, but the author takes no responsibility if a reader should become overheated. Read at your own risk.

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Fantasy (Harmless #8)

Melissa Schroeder - A Little Harmless Fantasy (Harmless #8) download or read it online for free
Melissa Schroeder - A Little
Harmless Fantasy (Harmless #8)
What starts out as simple fantasy among friends, becomes an overwhelming need that none of them can deny.

Maura Dillon has always been someone who lived life on her own terms. From the time she in college she knew she had different needs than most of her friends. But she never thought she would find herself torn between two very sexy men, or that they would want to add her to their relationship.

Zeke and Rory have known each other for years. Their casual relationship has spanned a decade, but now that they are living together things are on a whole other level. Add in their mutual attraction for Maura and things are just getting out of hand.
Rory understands their desires and suggests a week in Hawaii. No rules, no limits, no regrets. But as their nights are filled with unimaginable erotic pleasure, there is someone lurking in the shadows. Someone who wants revenge, and will stop at nothing to succeed.

Warning the book contains the following: Two sexy men who are hot for each other and the heroine, more Hawaiian scenery, a Dom who thinks he can control everything, two lovers who know he can’t, and scenes that push even Harmless Addicts over the edge.







What can I say but thank goodness for Amazon Kindle free reads that allow me the genuine pleasure of finding a fast, fun, sexy book to devour in a day's reading!

I love the premise of two people who have been friends since very early childhood, been confidantes since early adulthood and at a certain point in their lives discover that those feeling have become something so much deeper and richer than mere friendship for one another!

Anna is a very liberated forthright 28 year old woman living in a small Georgia town who has learned to keep her heart protected but enjoy her sexual escapades whenever she can!

Max is running his families business after returning in his early 20's to take over from his father and is Anna's best friend...

The two have always had the ability to connect intellectually and there is no shortage of fun when they are together, however their definition of fun takes on a whole new meaning when they both find themselves unattached and act on the mutual attraction they have been denying for over 10 years!

This book has quite a bit going for it, a wonderful sexy male lead and a very sensual and together female counterpart... The story lines go from present to past experiences seamlessly allowing the reader a chance to dip into what makes Anna and Max tick and also explains what leads up to their explosive pairing up!

I enjoyed watching these two dynamic people work their way through the relationship, from being friends to being lovers to finally admitting to being in love and wanting nothing more than to spend their lives together making each other happy!

The best part about reading this story was the fact at the end not only did I have a smile on my face but I have found an author new to me that intrigued me, gave me a wonderful sexy love story and convinced me to even like Max's ex-fiance Cynthia by the end of the book...

I am looking forward to at some point reading the next book in this seriesA Little Harmless Pleasure and if I like it will continue on with the ones after that A Little Harmless Obsession, A Little Harmless Lie, A Little Harmless Addiction!
The beginning of an AMAZING series!

Max Chandler was always doing the right thing. He did what people expected of him in life, business... But his world is thrown upside down when doing the right thing left him alone. His fiance broke up with him and naturally he wanted answers. So Max turns to his best friend, Anna Dewinter.
Anna ran a business and found herself dating to occupy her free time. She didn't know exactly what she was looking for, but most of the men she knew, were not it! And having a male best friend didn't help. Max was one person who would call her out on her choices.

So when Max tells Anna about his broken engagement, she is ready to help him "drink the sorrow away." One night of food & drinks, leads to something that they can't return from... And they don't know if they want to. Bringing these two together set people in motion to try and make Max see that the pairing is not going to last.

Anna & Max face a lot of negativity from the town & each other. They don't know what to do with the new feelings that they are showing. And it definitely leaves them causing their own chaos.

I read this story with no idea what to expect from the author... She was new to me. I am so happy that I found this story. It left me wanting more from the characters and those they were close to.
ALH Sex was a sexy Friends-to-Lovers story that takes the characters on a journey of finding themselves and building a unbreakable bond!
Max and Anna, best friends since childhood, realize one day that they both just broke up with their SO's and therefore they're both single at the same time. Each has been harboring more-than-friends feelings for years, but each thinks the other is just looking for a quick fling. Max is a swoonworthy alpha boyfriend and he takes charge, setting up a plan to convince her that he's serious and that she loves him, too. His declaration at the end was perfect for driving away all of Anna's doubts and insecurities.

I read this months ago and loved it, then recently decided to tackle the series and wanted to start at the beginning so I read it again. Couldn't put it down - seriously good stuff. The writing is superb - the author really gets you into the characters' heads so you feel every hesitation, every internal conflict, but also the amazing depths of their love for each other. And the love scenes are some of the hottest I've ever read! Whew! One of the best books I've read this year.
New to me author, I went into this one blind!! I usually scan reviews, but I wanted something different today and gave this a shot!
I am glad I did. This sexy fast humorous number is a great get to know read, showcasing the authors writing and what the rest of this looks to be delectable series will carry on as! I'm looking forward to digging into the rest of the books!
Happy to have found another author to add to my growing list of talented writers I enjoy reading!
Best friends turned lovers...
You all know that this is one of my favorite story lines and this one did not disappoint. Anna & Max basically grew up together and have been best friends forever. About 10 years ago, that friendship developed into a different kind of awareness, but besides a single kiss, neither one has ever acted upon it. On paper, they are polar opposites. Max is a leader of the community, CEO of the family company which is a huge part of their small town. He's a commitment kind of guy. Anna is a free spirit. She owns a coffee shop in town and after a hard lesson in high school, has never been a commitment kind of gal. She's upfront about the fact that she likes sex, but the minute the guy starts to get more serious, she runs the other direction.

The thing that makes this romance so good is how well Max and Anna know each other. Max knows that he wants Anna and for more than a little sex- he wants a commitment and tries to trick her into feeling the same way. Anna knows his moves and motives though. She's trying to protect her heart at any cost- although she is finding that Max can be really persuasive. They both are trying to control the relationship and the power swings wildly back and forth between the two of them as they get caught up in their emotions.

There are pressures to making any romance work, but in this one, they have dealing with the small town and its gossip and expectations also. Heartbreak is that much harder when everyone is watching it in the fishbowl that is a small town.

In the midst of all the angst and emotion though, there are some truly funny scenes. A classic one is when Anna is bailing Max out of jail. This statement was LOL funny...
Pursing her lips, she cocked her head to one side.
"For some reason, I always thought I'd be the one calling you to be bailed out."

This was a fabulous, emotional, entertaining. A wonderful first book for the start of the Harmless series.
Wow! I loved this book. This is the first book by author Melissa Schroeder that I have read and I will definitely be reading more of her books.

Maxwell Thurston and Anna Dewinter are best friends. When Max’s fiancée Cynthia Myers decides to call off their engagement, Anna invites Max over for margaritas and enchiladas. Anna, who has a thing for younger men, happens to break things off with her boyfriend Brad the same day. Anna feels Brad is taking their relationship a little bit more seriously than he should. She tends to break things off before things get to serious with any man she dates.

Anna has a thing for Max besides him being her best friend. She’s secretly been mooning over him since they were kids. Max thinks of Anna as a little sister but also secretly has a thing for her. The chemistry between Anna and Max sizzles from the beginning. After Anna and Max drink a little two much, they end up having sex. And not just any sex, but hot and steamy makes your toes curl sex.

The next morning is a little awkward. Anna doesn’t do commitment and Max is determined to change her mind. Throughout the story he’s constantly trying to get Anna to commit to a lasting relationship but Anna’s been hurt in the past and she tends to shy away when things get a little bit too serious.

I loved the dialogue of this story. It is well written and I found myself unable to put it down. I enjoyed getting to know Anna and Max and wanted things to work out for them in the long run. There is a little twist towards the end of the book that I loved and it helped bring everything together quite nicely.

If you love a hot and steamy romance with a traditional happy ever after then A Little Harmless Sex is for you. Be sure to check out the other books in this series. A Little Harmless Pleasure and A Little Harmless Obsession.

A Painted House by John Grisham

A Painted House by John Grisham

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  94,731 Ratings  ·  5,358 Reviews
A Painted House by John Grisham download or read online for free
A Painted House by John Grisham
Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers — and two very dangerous men — came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’s world.

A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives — and change his family and his town forever....


I learned that John Grisham should write more books in this genre because this is his best work....forget all those clients, partners, pelicans. 
One night, with a bunch of old friends in an apartment above Times Square, we tuned in to tv before turning in and The Bill Moyers Report was being aired; his guest was John Grisham. From his first responses, it was obvious that he possessed "gravitas" beyond his public persona.
Grisham grew up in Arkansas, the son of a cotton farmer, and went on to Law School but swiftly left that field of endeavor. He was a born story teller and has used the law background to great advantage. The next week I read "The Partner" which was clever and classy and all those best-seller adjectives. However, as I started reading "The Painted House" it was a most touching, true and arresting book that deserves the most serious consideration. Not just a "coming of age" story, this book deals with so many universal themes that no one could read it without making contact. It is a beautiful book. Put it on your bedside table pile.
For being from John Grisham, this was such a great book! 
For a long time I've enjoyed his legal thrillers, but after a while I suspected each book would be exactly the same as the last with the only difference being the plot. Granted that's one of the reasons I liked his novels, because I could trust they would be consistently good. When this book first came out I couldn't wait to read it and I fell in love with his ability to tell a heartfelt, meaningful story having nothing to do with law. I liked this book so much that I even recorded the Hallmark channel original that was made of it!
Great read! therapeutic,compelling,enjoyable and a moving story...determination,twists and turns to hold your interest to the end..well written
I was wary when this book came out - doubting Grisham could pull off historical fiction. 
Well he absolutely nailed it. It’s obvious Grisham drew from his personal experiences growing up in rural Arkansas. This is a heart-wrenching story of an impoverished farming community. It’s got it all, destitute share-croppers, migrant farm workers, a sweet young boy who lives for baseball, a devastating flood and a mentally unhinged murderer thrown in for good measure.
I wonder if Grisham had written this under a pseudonym if it would have been taken more seriously. Who knows, even ranked as one of the great American novels - it was that good.
Plus it inspired me to getting around to giving my house a fresh coat of paint.
This is not the usual John Grisham fare, but instead is a beautiful story told with great warmth and compassion. I have always enjoyed Grisham's books as good airplane reads--but never expected that he would write a book that I would list as one of my all-time favorites.
"The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist-high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a `good crop.'"

This was a really pleasant surprise. When asked about John Grisham, most of us immediately think of his wide catalogue of legal thrillers and their film adaptations. A Painted House is nothing like his other work (I admit to having read only one title - The Firm - a fact that I intend to change in due time) because it in no way relates to his traditional formula of legal thrilers. There is not a single lawyer in A Painted House; the best we get is a single policeman, because this story is set in rural Arkansas in 1952.

The novel is narrated in first person by a certain Luke Chandler, who also happens to be seven year old. The Chandler family are cotton farmers, and the book chronicles their struggles from late summer to early fall, when they harvest their crop with the help of Mexicans And Hill People. Luke will spend many hours picking cotton and living a boy's life; he'll hear things he shouldn't hear and see things he shouldn't see. These experiences will change him, as he'll have to grow up and face the dangers of adult life. But there will be many pleasant moments, too; the carniva;, first crush and many sweets from the stores in town. The people on farms have to be tough, or they won't survive. We experience their simple joys like listening to a baseball broadcast, but we also experience their despair with difficult harvest, their variness of people from other regions, the town gossip and the ever present preachers.

This book is the testament to Grisham's ability to tell a meaningful, sweet story that has nothing to do with the law. As he himself grew up in Arkansas, the novel has a certain autobiographical feel to it, and many events might have occured to the 7 year old John as well (I think many of them dealt with snakes). Grisham's narrator's voice is precocious but not offensive; easy to read and very desriptive.
This is not a coutroom drama, but the book is just as suspenseful, if not even more; the events and the characters are well drawn and memorable, and we only wish we could spend more time with them. This is a very sweet coming of age story, dealing with universal themes, which is also a real delight to get immersed in. Forget the chambers, appeals and clients; check in at the Painted House.
I seldom give five stars; they must be earned by the author's offerings. 
This book supplied all the necessary plot ingredients to satisfy the curiosities of this avid, mature reader. (No desire to see the movie, it could not possibly do this story justice.) Its not for the squeamish or sheltered reading audience. A realistic slice of life, poor/destitute Arkansas folks during the early Fifties, well-described and believable.
Such a well-written, engaging book. As the back cover suggests, A Painted House reminded me of books like To Kill a Mockingbird and Huck Finn. 
A boy from Arkansas (who loves the Cardinals and baseball and dreams of moving to St. Louis, all pluses in my book) grows up living the hard life on a cotton farm in the 50s. The book paints a vivid picture of what that common life might be like, with coming of age stories, family drama, and interpersonal conflicts, all while throwing in the less common intrigues of murders and a natural disaster. The relationships between ethnic groups, the role of the church, the pace of a 50s farm life, the ties of family, the importance of the paint on your house and its contrast to disasters, and finally the ambiguity of realized dreams... all highlights from a worthy one day read of 480 pages.

I'd never read a Grisham book before, but when I realized he wrote books that didn't involve lawyers, I decided to check this one out. Not disappointed. One of my favorite reads of the year.
I don't normally read Grisham, he's a great writer just not my typical genre. This, however, was an awesome story. I loved the whole experience of entering the world of Luke Chandler in 1951. It was a tremendously entertaining story. Well written, with so much detail and humor, realistic voices and a simpler time that was somehow made to be full of drama and suspense. I felt this was one of the best stories I can recall written from this era and brought so fully into focus.

Luke Chandler, 7 years old, lives in Black Oak Arkansas with his Mom and Dad, Gran and Pappy on a cotton farm. The cotton is their world. They are farmers, first and foremost and the cotton is their master.
When the story begins, it is harvesting time. The summer crop has been good, the weather has been favorable and the Chandlers are occupied with the task of finding "hill people" and Mexicans to hire to help harvest the cotton.
They will pay them to help pick the cotton and in return they will share their lives for the next two months. The decisions made at the beginning of the harvest turn out to have irrevocable consequences for the Chandlers, the Sprools- the "hill people', and the people of Black Oak.
These decisions and their resulting effects are unspooled steadily and with increasing tension as the story progresses in a wonderfully mesmerizing tapestry, full of color and vibrancy.
In essence, I was enthralled by this story. It was a journey to another place and time, one I was unfamiliar with, but was brought to feel right at home in. Read it, it's a pleasure.
I read this some time ago. I love the story. The setting is in the 50s, a much simpler time and yet a much more difficult time. The story is told through the eyes of an eight-year-old. I'm not sure, but I understand the story is based on John Grisham's childhood.

This is not a fast pace book. It is so much more. John Grisham told a very heart moving tale of the hard times as a farmer through the eyes of a young boy. The boy had me laughing at times with some of his silly pranks. It was a time that you didn't dare get caught using a cuss word, although the young boy would from time to time sneak off and practice curse words that his older brother had taught him.

The story took you to a place and time where folks lived off the land and the hardships that each day brought. I love this story. Great read and there were times you laugh and times you sat on the edge of your seat. There are surprises that keep you turning the pages. This book is a wonderful read for any age.
This is, so far as I know, Grisham's second or third departure from his legal thrillers. I have read several of his previous works and I found this novel to be a refreshing change, for the writer.
Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers—and two very dangerous men—came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’s world. A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born. And someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives—and change his family and his town forever

Hidden Depths by Aubrianna Hunter

Hidden Depths by Aubrianna Hunter

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  2,151 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews
Hidden Depths by Aubrianna Hunter
She is pierced, dyed and tattooed, born on the wrong side of the tracks. He is a traditional white knight born of the proverbial silver spoon. Their meeting was an accident, the fact that they became even the most tentative of friends, an anomaly. The only real thing they had in common... chemistry. Lots of chemistry. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough and Gia knew it. Now, if only she could convince her body...

Josh had always walked the line, lived the life he was expected to live. He had, by all accounts, the perfect life; a corporate lawyer, a beautiful home, a family empire to run, and the perfect fiancee. He was well on his way. The only question he had... was that really where he wanted to go? Plagued by dreams, Josh fought all his natural instincts, denying not only what he truly wanted but who he was deep down inside. Until one crazy night when he gave in to his desires...

Could these two polar opposites have more in common than even they realize?

This is a Erotic Romance, definitely 18+


Story Rating-4 Stars
Character Rating-4 Stars
Romance Rating-4 Stars
Heat Level-4.5 Stars
Overall Rating-4 Stars

I really enjoyed this book, what a great read!

I really liked the characters in this book. It was refreshing to read about the heroine, Gia, being the tattooed and pierced one, instead of it being the hero as we usually get in our romance books. She was very colorful and stayed true to herself throughout the book. The hero, Josh, was a great character too. I loved how he was trying so hard to let loose and be his own person. There were also some fun and interesting secondary characters that brought humor to the story. I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times at the things that they said.

The storyline was perfect for me, but won’t be for everyone. There are things that happened over the course of this book that might bother other readers, but I was fine with it. The first being Josh was engaged to another woman and he just could not keep his attraction for Gia at bay. This did not bother me one bit, some may call it cheating and hate that, but I didn’t see it that way. Josh did kiss and fool around with Gia once before he broke off his engagement, but they went no further than that. Another thing that may bother readers was the fact that Gia kept denying her true feelings for Josh and this did go on right up until the ending. I felt she had a good enough reason to feel the way she did, so I did not find it to be a problem.

However, one thing that did bother me was when Josh broke off his engagement with his fiancée Deb; they both were completely okay with it, no big deal. There was no drama, no hard feelings, everything was fine, and we can and still are great friends. I was like…WTF! No emotions from either of them and they had been together for many years. Now, I would have been fine with that if maybe we had found out that Deb was secretly having feelings for another person too, if there had been a reason, explaining why it was so easy for Deb to give up on Josh, this book may have been a 4.5 or even a 5 star rating depending on what or why Deb was so okay with the breakup. All I can think of is maybe the author has plans to write Deb's book next and then we will find out exactly why the breakup didn’t affect her like I thought it should. If that's the case, I will surely be reading it!

Now I want to tell you about the heat level…this book was SCORCHING HOT!! Even in the beginning when they were just fooling around the scenes were off the charts HOT!!! As the story moved on and the sex/love scenes started up, they only got HOTTER with each encounter. There was a bit of BDSM in this book and it was done very tastefully, and although I normally don’t like reading about that in my books, it did not bother me here. The author definitely knows how to write spectacular erotic love scenes.

The ending was EXCELLENT, and I got the epilogue that I love so much, tying everything up perfectly, and leaving me with a smile and a sigh.

I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
This was suggested to me from a friend, and I'm entirely glad I read it! I was skeptical at first, because I don't normally enjoy reading about a break up of an engagement when the guy is in love with someone else. In this one, however, that was never an issue for me. 
Josh was trying to please everyone but himself and denying who he really was inside at the expense of his own happiness. Gia has never allowed herself to get close enough for someone to break her heart, but she knows deep inside that Josh is the one guy who can break down her walls enough to hurt her. She places all these rules and guidelines in hope of keeping her distance, but that proves to be pretty futile. The scenes between these two are just...scorching hot! Seriously, I thought my e-reader was going to spontaneously combust by the steaminess of this book. These two have an undeniable amount of chemistry! Only thing I would have liked to see more of, was to hear more of their witty banter between them. I just really enjoyed the parts we got to hear, so more would have been nice. As a whole though, this book rocked and I'm really glad I read it. :)
Cold shower time for me after reading this book and writing a review!! This book is HOT from beginning to end, oh and there is actually a good story in there too.

It was a nice change to have a tatted up bad girl instead of the bad boy. Although Gia owns a tattoo shop and doesn't dress the "norm", she isn't necessarily a bad girl. She has a group of six friends she has known since college, about 10 years which includes Josh and his fiance Deb.

Josh is the rich, pretty boy with his life mapped out for him. His soon to be boring wife, house and kids are all part of his family's master plan, but Josh doesn't feel he fits into that plan. He wants Gia, something different. Josh and Gia are friends and he wants to be more, but will it cost him everything?

I am trying to write this without spoilers, so if you are looking for a good story and some hot sex scenes-this is your book.
This was surprisingly good, but then I'm becoming jaded. If it's a new-to-me author (especially if it's self-published), I go into it expecting mediocre, so if it's a good story and not riddled with grammar and other issues, I'm a happy girl. And I'm a happy girl with this one.

First, word of warning... this book starts out with a bit of cheating. Josh is engaged to a girl he thinks his parents approve of. There's no real passion between them, and he's really just following a path he thinks his parents have laid out for him. But he's attracted to Gia (has been for years), who on the surface seems so wrong for him. Upon getting a tattoo from her, Josh and Gia kiss, and immediately call it a mistake. When Josh can't get the kiss out of his head, his best friend suggests that maybe he should do it again... to either make sure it was a mistake so he can put it behind him, or realize there could really be something there and avoid entering a marriage that is doomed. So he does, and it's massive sparks. So Josh calls off the engagement and tries really hard to make something real with Gia.

But Gia has a rough history and she doesn't think she's good enough for Josh. There's not really any amount of talking that could make her think things could really work with Josh, considering the ritzy world he lives in and her preconceived notions about what he wants long term. Gia didn't give Josh nearly enough credit, and I felt really bad for Josh, thinking he's more or less Gia's "dirty little secret". He wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but she wanted to keep things quiet, even among their close friends. (And, by the way, their friends aren't stupid.)

So it finally ended with an HEA, but it took a bit to get there. Lots of sexy times... Josh had been a closeted dominant... he'd tried to keep those tendencies under wraps, but Gia just brought it to the forefront when they were together. And Gia loved to submit to Josh. It was pretty steamy! But I was glad to see them work everything out.
They say opposites attract. 
That is definitely the case with Josh and Gia. Both main characters were great. Josh had it all – great job, beautiful home, and a wonderful fiance – he was living the dream. The only problem is that it was someone else's dream. He fantasized about letting loose and being free until he could not hide it anymore. Gia…well I loved Gia. She is not afraid to speak her mind and does not care what others think of her. She has a bit of a wild side and knows how to have fun. I love that the female is the wild one in this story; usually we are reading about pierced and tattooed guys, so Gia was a fun change.

The chemistry between Josh and Gia is sweltering. From the very first page the scenes between the two of them, even if they are just talking and flirting, are steamy hot. I also loved the emotion brought out through the story. I am glad I had the opportunity to read this book!
This was an incredibly sweet and hot read. Usually it's the bad boy with the tattoos that catches the eye of the perfect good girl, and in this case, totally reversed. 
Except the girl with the tattoos is the one holding back and the perfect good boy is the one that is totally accepting! Josh is really a great, great guy. Two kisses, one by accident, and one to make sure, and the next day, Josh calls off his engagement with his fiancee. As soon as he gets back from a long business trip he was sent on (during which they didn't talk), he gets back and courts Gia in earnest. And what a courting it is. The sex is incredibly hot. The emotions are so sweet. It's full of love, passion and kink. I think that's really about all I've got to say. It's a great, great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Even though I got this book on a promo sale I would absolutely pay full price for it and let me tell you why. It has amazing chemistry between the main characters, the writing is fantastic, the depth and emotion is superb, there's hot kinky sex and the main reason I loved it is because it's a "Friends to Lovers" story and that's just my ultimate weakness.

The tables are turned in Hidden Depths with Gia being the tattooed and pierced wild child. You usually see the guy in that role but she played it well. She's the girl who grew up on the more Urban side of town. The girl who runs her own tattoo shop and does her own thing despite what anyone else thinks.

Josh is the guy from the Silver Spoons side of life. A lawyer by trade with a Country Club membership, he's living his life by others standards. What his parents want for him, what his fiance Deborah expects of him. But he's itching to break out of that mold and live the way he wants.

Friends for almost a decade, Josh and Gia have always had a push and pull relationship that from the outside appears to be snarky and biting but underneath it all the two share an intense chemistry that has suffered by bad timing. Whenever one of them was single the other was taken and both chose to push their attraction down an ignore it. Although Josh is engaged his dreams are filled with naughty thoughts and ideas of what he'd like to do to Gia in the bedroom and his attraction finally hits a boiling point when he makes his move.

I'm usually the anti-cheating watch dog when it comes to reads like this but the author handled everything so well that it actually worked in favor of the main characters. Yes Josh was engaged and fooling around with Gia a little bit but for me, when you have characters who've been friends for so long and fighting an attraction like this, it's a no-brainer, really. It's not right by any means but the author cleared the air pretty quickly to open the path for her MC's and I loved that. This book worked for me so well I had to tell my friends to get it even though I was only at the halfway mark at the time. I would have loved to see more of Josh and Gia's first meeting in College and how that went and a little more background on Gia's home life but the connection between Josh and Gia didn't suffer at all without it so it's not really a big deal. I just want more Gia and Josh. There is a lot of hot chemistry and even hotter sex and those are two things I enjoy in my books very much. If you're looking for something sweet yet wicked hot then you owe this to yourself!