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Ambrosia's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
tagged: currently-reading
At the King's Pleasure
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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Ambrosia has read 3 books toward her goal of 27 books.
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Posted by on February 27, 2019

What happens when you toss tradition out the window and really start living for yourself?

Venus Johnston has a great job, a beautiful home, and a loving live-in boyfriend named Clint, who happens to be a drop-dead gorgeous doctor. She also has a weekly beauty-parlor date with Tina, who keeps Venus’s long, processed hair slick and straight. But when Clint–who’s been reluctant to commit over the past four years–brings home a puppy instead of an engagement ring, Venus decides to give it all up. She trades in her long hair for a dramatically short, natural cut and sends Clint packing.

It’s a bold declaration of independence–one that has effects she never could have imagined. Reactions from friends and coworkers range from concern to contempt to outright condemnation. And when Clint moves on and starts dating a voluptuous, long-haired beauty, Venus is forced to question what she really wants out of life. With wit, resilience, and a lot of determination, she finally learns what true happiness is–on her own terms. Told with style, savvy, and humor, Nappily Ever After is a novel that marks the debut of a fresh new voice in fiction.

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Posted by on February 20, 2019

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julia Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul–and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master–a man her mother would never approve of–but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village. . .and to her mother’s tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England

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Posted by on February 10, 2019

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

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Posted by on February 8, 2019

The incredible journey of one man who sets out to circumnavigate the globe on a vintage motorbike fueled by kindness.

Follow the inspirational journey of a former stockbroker who leaves his unfulfilling desk job in search of a meaningful life. He sets out from Los Angeles on a vintage motorbike, determined to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers. Incredibly, he makes his way across the U.S., through Europe, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and finally to Canada and back to the Hollywood sign, by asking strangers for shelter, food, and gas. Again and again, he’s won over by the generosity of humanity, from the homeless man who shares his blanket to the poor farmer who helps him with his broken down bike, and the HIV-positive mother who takes him in and feeds him. At each stop, he finds a way to give back to these unsuspecting Good Samaritans in life-changing ways, by rebuilding their homes, paying for their schooling, and leaving behind gifts big and small. The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a world of adventure, renew your faith in the bonds that connect people, and inspire you to accept and generate kindness in your own life.

My Gemstone Rating:

This is positively one of the best books I have read in 2018 or anytime at all. I of course followed is up by watching the limited series as well and it was amazing. Watching as one man works his way around the world only on the kindness of strangers. It is at times sad, seeing where people have come. Where society has come to where we don’t go right to kindness. However, for the most part I smiled and I cried and I laughed and I was so happy to see that there is kindness there. One things that I could see within this story is that many times it is those who have the least that are the most willing to share. In other moments it was those who knew what it was like to have little who were the most willing to share what they had. There was a moment or two of those who had much who decided to share, but mostly it was the other genres.

I have had people call me a kindness warrior, so I suppose it should come as no surprise that I read this one. I can completely respect this project and I would love to see more people do it. The more people do it, the more attention will be brought to it as well. Kindness needs to be something that all of us remember and know about. If more people in this world took a minute to simply be kind in a moment when they were in a hurry or something else, the world would truly be a better place. Kindness matters.

As the 12th Doctor put it so well in a message to his 13th self..

Always try to be nice but never fail to be kind.

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Posted by on February 5, 2019

One of the greatest loves of all time-between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley-comes to life in this vivid novel.

They were playmates as children, impetuous lovers as adults-and for thirty years were the center of each others’ lives. Astute to the dangers of choosing any one man, the Virgin Queen could never give her “Sweet Robin” what he wanted most-marriage- yet she insisted he stay close by her side. Possessive and jealous, their love survived quarrels, his two disastrous marriages to other women, her constant flirtations, and political machinations with foreign princes.

His Last Letter tells the story of this great love… and especially of the last three years Elizabeth and Dudley spent together, the most dangerous of her rule, when their passion was tempered by a bittersweet recognition of all that they shared-and all that would remain unfulfilled.

I know there are many who chalk this book up to just being fan fiction and maybe for them it is, heck even for me I am willing to say there is a great deal of fan fiction involved. That being said I don’t mind fan fiction and when dealing with a relationship from so far away there will be a little bit of fan fiction. We know they had a special relationship and what is wrong with coloring in the lines a bit. There were times I found Elizabeth a little bit to much when it came to childishness and tantrums. I have a hard time picturing that is how she really acted. Royal blood and raised as she was, but it is of course possible.

There were some historical points that were not right, but if I wanted a complete bio I would be reading non fiction. Reading is an enjoyment for me and a historical fiction to me is about that entertainment mixed with the backdrop of history. So to me this book, was enjoyable. The pacing was good and the characters came alive on the page. To me that is the mark of a good book. So if you like historical fictions and don’t mind a few moments that are up and down as far as taking in the actions of characters I think you will enjoy this read. Give it a try.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on January 12, 2019

Another of my 2018 catch up reviews, be prepared to see a few of these, lol.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Reading Everything, Everything for me was about making sure I read the book before I saw the movie or show based on the book. I am very dedicated to that little pledge. I wanted to love this book more then anything, sadly I just didn’t love it. On the bright side while I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. It was a solid story line and a unique and interesting concept.

I think a few of the points being a little too obvious and a little bit slow would be my biggest reason as to why I didn’t fall head over heels in love with this one. Beyond that, it was a good read, I did enjoy it and I would suggest someone who likes an interesting, fresh YA concept take a look at this book.

For me, I enjoyed the movie more. It had a bit more of an emotional punch for me. That does NOT happen very often, though sometimes because of how behind I am in reviews it may seem like it does, LOL. Either way, whether you love the movie and want to check the source material or want to read the source first, or just read a solid book despite the fact I wasn’t totally in love I do recommend Everything Everything.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on December 27, 2018

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s classic tale we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn’t so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Gregory Maguire just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.

What can I say about Wicked? It has been one of my favorite musicals for as long as I can remember and the book, well it is one of my favorites. The only reason this isn’t a flat out 5 star for me is becomes sometimes the pacing is a little sluggish. This could be because of how in love with the musical I am, even the best written book can’t keep up with a musical that has numbers like Defying Gravity and For Good included on the list. With that said, whether you like the musical, don’t or haven’t seen it, I will champion this book as a read, it gives you a different look at the Wicked Witch of the West. I have a habit of wanting to know more about the “villains” in stories and when I look at that desire I can see it does go back a long ways, even when I was a kid watching the Wizard of OZ I remember wondering what made the Wicked Witch Wicked. I mean this girl from Kansas suddenly drops a house on this woman’s sister and basically steals her shoes, doesn’t she have the right to be mad? This story for me has always been a nice look at to the idea that no one starts off as a villain and no villain is the villain of their own story.

Then again, maybe I just have a thing for the bad guys, I mean I do rather adore Loki, but that is a different story and review. I have gone off on some tangents in this review, as I tend to when thinking of old favorites like this book. Bottom line it is a solid read and I think everyone should give this one a chance and put it on the top of their TBR.

My Gemstone Rating:

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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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