The Flame and the Flower

The Flame and the FlowerThe Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

I wanted to read something I’d read before – wasn’t in the mood for something new.  Decided to pick something off my own bookshelf.

OMG (as the kids would say).  No, this isn’t a YA book; however, I did first read this when I was a teen.  In fact, this very copy.  It was my grandmothers, and re-reading it I can’t believe she let me read it at that age!

Summary from Amazon:

New York Times bestselling author Kathleen E. Woodiwiss debut romance…

The Flower

Doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons fears for her innocence—until a shocking, desperate act forces her to flee. . . and to seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.

The Flame

A lusty adventurer married to the sea, Captain Brandon Birmingham courts scorn and peril when he abducts the beautiful fugitive from the tumultuous London dockside. But no power on Earth can compel him to relinquish his exquisite prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed lovely his woman. . .and to carry her off to far, uncharted realms of sensuous, passionate love.

So, this is old school romance at it’s best/worst.  The main character escapes being raped by one man, only to be raped by the ‘hero’ of the story.  Escapes again, becomes pregnant and forced to marry her rapist.  But, of course, being the romance that it is, they fall madly in love — after many trials and tribulations — and live happily ever after.

I would NEVER give this to a teen today and, as I said above, cannot believe my granny allowed me to read it!  There were so many instances where the heroine – I cannot really even call her that – accepts that what the hero does to her is okay, because he’s a man and her husband or because he loves her.  WTF. I don’t care that this is a historical romance and yes, women had little to no rights.  This was just plain wrong.

Re-reading this as an adult, I don’t know why I liked it and kept it…maybe because the main character’s name was Heather?  I know I kept it because it was one of the few things from my granny I had left when she passed away. She and I shared a love of reading.  Many a day at her house was spent in matching swivel chairs, each reading our own book while my granddad was in the living room watching TV.  While I probably won’t re-read this one again, I will be keeping it, as it is a physical reminder of my granny.

I do know that I won’t be recommending it to my teens!  Instead I’ll be recommending books like: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or Some Boys by Patty Blount.

Crazy House

Okay, I’m going to give another go at reviewing books.  I got this one as an ARC back at ALA Midwinter 2017 in Atlanta, but finally downloaded it from RCPL with Overdrive this week.  [A student borrowed my ARC and it has never been returned!]

Crazy House by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, jimmy patterson/Hachette Book Group, 2017

Twins Becca and Cassie Greenfield have had more hardship than most seventeen-year-olds.  Two years ago their Ma and Pa basically abandoned them and they now have  a ramshackle farm to take care of, school to pass, their designated vocation to master and only each other to rely upon.  Everyone in United and Cell B-97-4275 must pull their weight.

One fateful morning Cassie wakes up to find Becca, and more importantly, Cassie’s truck, gone.  Cassie’s initial anger turns to fear when she realizes her sister has become one of the “disappeared” – kids who go missing and never return–no reason, no warning, and no trace of them is ever found.  On the flip side, Becca wakes up in a prison for kids–where the sentence is death – and you must learn, obey, and most of all, fight in order to delay your execution.  What the two don’t know is that it was Cassie who was supposed to have been taken, not Becca!    What will happen when the switch is discovered? Will Cassie find Becca before Becca is executed?

First off, I will say I wouldn’t normally have chosen to read this, simply because I’m not a dystopian fan.  It was the mistaken twins and one being in jail that initially intrigued me enough to give it a chance!  Having said that, I’d say this one is a great choice for those who enjoyed Maze Runner by James Dashner; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; and Divergent by Veronica Roth, etc.   The novel is told from multiple points-of-view in short alternating chapters that I believe reluctant readers will find appealing.  This is the first of a series, so of course, there is a bit of a cliffhanger; however, the book does have an ending, of a sorts.  You just know there is more to come and not all answers have been provided – as this is a new world, conflict still remains, and so much more to resolve.  Overall I’d give this one a 3 out of 5 stars, simply because this isn’t my genre.

Summer Reading

Summer Reading 2014

“So many books, so little time!”

One of my goals has been to get back into reading young adult literature.  I’d been in a slump, or should I say disappointed with what I’d been reading, so haven’t been reading like a good YA librarian should.  To that end here are the ones I picked up to give a go and have read so far this summer:

1. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (4 out of 5 stars); [contemporary; realistic fiction; PTSD]

Uhm, read it a LONG while ago, so don’t remember any pertinent details, just that it was good, not as good as some of her other books (ie: Speak), but still definitely worth purchasing.

2. Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (3 out of 5 stars); [contemporary; realistic fiction]

This was a VERY well written book and I have my own reasons, not to do with the plot/issue of the story, of why I didn’t give it a higher rating.  If anyone is interested in why I didn’t give it a higher rating, ask me in the comments and I’ll email you.  My answer has the potential to spoil the ending for those who may want to read the book and I hate spoilers so I wont do that to anyone else!!

3. Love in the Time of Global Warming by Franchesca Block (DNF); [science fiction; survival fiction; magic realistic fiction]

Okay, this one I just couldn’t get into – mostly due to the back and fourth “fantasy/reality” passages and as you really need to know/understand some mythology (I guess) to “get it” and I just didn’t feel like I wanted to put in that much effort in my summer reading!  Sorry!  This wasn’t my “cup of tea”!  Maybe others will enjoy it as I know she’s a popular YA author.

4. How to Love by Katie Cotugno (3 out of 5 stars); [contemporary; realistic fiction; teen pregnancy]

Good, but not great.  I like that the main character accepts responsibility for her actions; however, I don’t believe that it accurately depicts the hardships single parents face – she had it too easy!  This also borders on a New Adult(ish) title since half the book is while the main character is out of high school flashing back to high school and how she became pregnant so I don’t know that it is a true YA title in my opinion.

5. Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young (4 out of 5 stars); [contemporary; realistic/science fiction; romance]

Reminded me of a YA version of the movie “Sliding Doors” – what happens if you make one decision/choice over another?  Does it lead to the same conclusion/fate?  I didn’t always like the choices Caroline made, in either “reality”, but overall I liked the book.

6. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (4 out of 5 stars); [contemporary; realistic fiction; bullying; romance]

Really liked the positive aspect of the adults in the main character’s life – didn’t stay in the background/absentee as in most YA, but took active roll!  Adults aren’t the enemy!

7. The Gaged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni (4 out of 5 stars); [historical fiction; mystery; romance]

Very interesting that the story is based on true account of caged graves!  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Weird.

8. Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel (4 out of 5 stars); [historical fiction; mystery; espionage; romance]

I would have given it even higher marks; however, this isn’t a YA book in my opinion.  This reads like a regular romance novel that happens to have a teenage protagonist.  It has very sexual undertones: an attempted rape; mentions of the kings mistress; witnessing a lovers tryst; etc.  While nothing overt/explicit, it is more adult in content and in writing style/language than most of my teens would be willing to invest.  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and WILL be recommending it to my teen girls who like romance and mysteries.

9. The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason (3 out of 5 stars); [steampunk; historical fiction; science fiction; romance; mystery; fantasy]

This book tired to be too many things and just didn’t work for me.  Overall, it is an okay story/mystery, but it just tried too hard to do too much at once.

Okay, that’s it for now, but I have a whole bunch more on my TBR pile.  I’ll post those as I get to them!  What have you been reading?

Photo credit: “So many books, so little time!” photograph by Heather Loy, 7/11/2014.