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Ambrosia's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
tagged: currently-reading
At the King's Pleasure
tagged: currently-reading

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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Ambrosia has read 1 book toward her goal of 26 books.
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Posted by on October 21, 2018

A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Their brave adventures – their pleasures and their difficulties – are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

Every once in a while you read a book that truly strikes a chord with you. Some could even say it might be a life changing book. For me, this book is one of those rare books. I read it as part of my commitment to reading books before I see the movie or TV show based on them, and I have never been so glad that I followed that rule.

Our souls at night is an amazing book, it really speaks to the human condition and just how do we cope when life as we know it blows apart. Two people in their golden years find companionship, fondness and love by just needing someone to talk to, the desire for companionship. It truly to me speaks out, we as people are social creatures. Sure, some of us would rather be alone, or we all go through times where it is easier to be alone, but at the end of the day we all need someone to talk to. We need something to hold onto and to keep us grounded in life. When our kids grow up and move out, when our beloved spouse of long years passes away, what happens. So many end up ghosting through life after events, or worse. The night hours, the long dark nights when everyone else is asleep can often be the worst. Our souls at night examines that corner of who we are as people, when many books and stories turn away. I don’t want to give the full plot away, but I have to say read it. Read it and know that no matter how things are, no matter how alone we feel there are ways to find that companionship. You can start new no matter what age you are.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on October 17, 2018

 

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves — but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.

You are about to read a sentence that I have never written before (that I can recall) and most likely will not do so again. Don’t bother with the book at all and stick with the TV series. Honestly, I feel like I am saving you time here. Normally when you read a book you get more detail than you could ever hope to get on screen. I mean I don’t know a single reader that hasn’t said a book they love should have been turned into a 12 hour epic that covers everything. That is so very much not the case with this book.

The pacing is wrong, the focus is wrong and I just want to slap some of the characters so hard. Where as on the show sure I want to smack a few characters, but I understand the motivation the have, I feel invested and I get more details. The book really just seems to fall truly and epicly flat. This is a series about humanity. It makes sure to show us the best and the worst, the human strength and the human weakness. The book just misses that mark very epicly. The book seems to dance around and focus more on all of the shitty things that we do for love. I mean it is true, we do a lot of stupid things for love that is human nature. I just don’t like that focus, like it is trying to be a romance novel and it doesn’t need all of that. There is plenty of love that happens without needing to focus on it. So my bottom line, watch the show and enjoy that and save your time don’t, read the book.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on August 3, 2018

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

I have always loved A wrinkle in time and when the movie was getting ready to come out I knew it was time for another read. I mean, how could I miss Chris Pine as Doctor Murray right? Anyways, back to the book.

For me this book is just something enjoyable to read, like going into a familiar world where I might know how it is going to end, but I am okay with that, because I find something different every time I read it. The story has so many different layers and so much to discover. There is something about this book that still to this day gives me a sense of wonder, I can read it and just feel transfixed. This book is one of the books that inspired me to write, to write poetry and stories and just about anything. Reading it again helped me to break through some block that I had going on when I read it. It is just that kind of book for me. I might even read it a second time for the year to try and break through things once again. I know some read this book again when they become adults and don’t feel the same way, but for me this is one of those books that I believe will always give me that special kind of wonderment and remind me why I wanted to write down things to start with. At least I hope it will be that way, because being an adult is tough enough most of the time, losing something that holds a child’s wonder to it would make it that much harder. Sorry for the bit of floaty, dreamy review on this one, I’ll blame the book for it.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on July 26, 2018

It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, Holly Golightly. Pursued by Mafia gangsters and playboy millionaires, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock department’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s a classic movie and to me also a classic book. I love diving into a classic once in a while. It is like having a chat with familiar old friends you don’t see too often.

As always I truly enjoyed this book. While I don’t re-read it very often I do sometimes worry that because I know the book so well I will be bored when I come around to it again, but I always manage to discover or feel something new about the characters as I read so it never feels stale. There are just some stories that will always stand the test of time. For me Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of those books that when someone asks me about a book they simply must read in their lifetime that I tell them about. Of course it seems more people are aware of the movie vs. the book and some come out a bit shocked from the book, but for me that is part of the fun. Holly is a little bit of a ninny head as my great gran would say, but I don’t care I still enjoy my time spent with her and probably always will.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on July 20, 2018

The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen.

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…

When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.

I lost a dare with a friend, who wanted to watch this series. I of course have to read before I watch, what can I say I am really a stickler for that. So I sat down, knowing very little about this one, it sounded a little Twilight to me and I was not wrong. Alas guess what I confess I enjoyed Twilight and I found myself enjoying this book as well.

Yes, it is full of the typical tropes of YA with the instant love and the sort of triangle and all the silly drama that comes up. I mean seriously. However, you can’t say some of this stuff isn’t right out of Hollywood because there is a reason we call it Hollyweird and I personally could never live in LaLa land full time. Paige is your typical girl who suddenly gets tossed into the deep end. I can relate to her on many levels. We all have a time and a road to find out who we are, can you imagine having to do that in the fishbowl which of course is what Paige has to do. People are obsessed with celebrity, so much so you get the situation like Paige, before her movie even comes out.

She is famous for being famous.

All in all I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t my super favorite, but I don’t regret spending time with the characters. Best yet, I wasn’t yelling about glitter at any point during the reading.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on July 19, 2018

Will he secure his future by ruining hers, or will she ruin his plans by securing him? A new twist on the old fortune hunter plot puts an impoverished earl in a position to gain his fortune only by ruining an innocent’s reputation without offering marriage. The innocent he’s selected, however, has no plans to settle for anything less than marriage and will go to almost any length to secure him.

With no other means for an income, the impoverished Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, makes an agreement that will put a definite end to his eight year poverty streak. But, in order to gain his fortune he must do only one simple thing: ruin an innocent young lady’s reputation enough to make her flee to America.

Brooke Banks isn’t interested in marriage, or so she thinks. She came to London to have a good time, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Widely known for her tendency to flout the rules, she suspects nothing when a handsome stranger appears on her doorstep.

Thirteen days, a handful of kisses and one scandalous situation later, Andrew and Brooke will have to choose to stick to their original plans, or decide if a life together is worth the risk.

I got this book as an Amazon freebie and to be honest, I did not have super high expectations going into this one. It seemed like it would be a little bit of fun to read while I was on the tube and such in England. I was happily surprised this book actually got my interest and I found myself invested in the characters.

Brooke was a firecracker and I really loved the way she happily teased and flaunted and act like a “typical” American of her era while her other sister flitted and worried about proper protocol. Andrew is an interesting character. Sure, he is the typical member of the Ton that needs money because he has a really bad Dad and some other family issues. However, he is observant and funny and a bit of fun. The ending well dang it, I was in tears when he presents her with all the paper roses. I won’t detail more than that so I am not giving it away, but it is a beautiful moment.

This is a little bit predictable as a book, it has many of the usual bodice ripper tropes. That does not mean it is a bad thing. Sometimes you just want to curl up with a book that has something familiar about it and have an easy enjoyable read. To me this book provided that and it was even more fun for me reading it while in England because I treated myself to walking to a few of the places mentioned in it, while I read. So the bottom line for me, I enjoyed this one and I am going to put the second book of the series on my To read pile. If you like an easy read fun little book you will probably enjoy this one too.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on July 14, 2018

In a court filled with repressed sexual longing, scandal, and intrigue, Lady Katherine Grey is Elizabeth’s most faithful servant. When the young queen is smitten by the dashing Robert Dudley, Katherine must choose between duty and desire-as her secret passion for a handsome earl threatens to turn Elizabeth against her. Once the queen becomes a bitter and capricious monarch, another lady-in-waiting, Mistress Mary Rogers, offers the queen comfort. But even Mary cannot remain impervious to the court’s sexual tension-and as Elizabeth gives her doomed heart to the mercurial Earl of Essex, Mary is drawn to the queen’s rakish godson…

I wanted to like this book so much more then I did. I read some of the reviews, but since I have enjoyed other books by the author and do love historical fictions in the time of Elizabeth I, it seemed like this would be a hit read. Sadly for me this book did fall a little bit flat. It was not a completely awful book but in the end it was just a bit repetitive and trite overall.

On nearly every single page at least once we the reader were reminded that at any moment Lady Katherine Grey could be named the heir to the throne. This of course was seen as a totally awful thing that the Lady did not want and we were told again and again how much she didn’t want it. With that being the very loud overall theme it was a little harder to get into the other events going on over that kind of noise.

It also felt for me that a lot of the characters were not fully fleshed out and I felt many of them were vapid because of this. With those negatives said there were some bright moments here and there. The book also flowed fairly well which is what saved it from a lower rating. My end thoughts are if you want to take a chance on a book give it a try. Otherwise if you don’t have much interest in the time period or taking risks give it a pass.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on June 27, 2018

An exciting debut: a vivid, richly imagined saga of ancient Rome from a masterful new voice in historical fiction

Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress’s rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.

As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome’s aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian’s games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor’s mistress.

I am going to be completely honest here, I picked this book because it was based in ancient Rome and I wanted a book set in Rome to come with me on my Roman Holiday. So I really expected just a quick, fun, but cheesy read with this one. I am glad to say I got more than what I thought I would.

Mistress of Rome does have some of the familiar historical romance tropes, but it also has so much more within the pages. The characters created are multi layered and the story that unfolds is really gripping and spans so many years. I found myself feeling the anguish of Thea and her loved ones. This story really does show how little power over their own lives as slaves of the ancient times had. However, it also shows that if played right slaves could have a form of power, especially the Gladiators who won the heart of the mob. Was it a useful power? Was it power that was worth the price? Well, that is hard to say and you will have to read the book yourself to find out the details of this story. I truly enjoyed this read so much and I am going to be reading more in the series. The Emperor Domitian was no one that I did much research on personally, but this historical fiction has ignited my desire as a history fan to dig more into this interesting and complicated Emperor who was assassinated.

All in all, for me the fact that I really enjoyed the book AND it has made me want to dig into more real research means this is a winner. I am sure this read wont be for everyone, but if you like a good story with lots of layers and interesting characters with a hearty helping of love, this is a read for you to give a shot. It moves quickly and it holds your interest.

My Gemstone Rating:

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