Wrap-up! The first day of Fall was 9/22 and I fell four book short of my challenge goal. I'm happy I said I'd only read the books listed on FictFact because there are more book associated with the Long Tall Texans series than listed here. I'm going to keep reading now, I need to finish these four books!
Series list from Fictfact.com Titles highlighted yellow have been read before this challenge. Titles highlighted in purple have been read for this challenge.
I was sad to see the Ceder Cove series end, but I understand Debbie's reasons (shared in a note to readers in this book) and I think it was wise. Too often I find that an author seems to just push out books in a series and the stories end up stale. While I was sad, I was also happy to see that this book was set in Ceder Cove, a nod to her long time readers, Debbie heard our requests to still be kept up to date with the characters we've grown to love (again mentioned in the note to readers).
From the first book it looks like the series will focus on the individuals who come to stay at the Rose Harbor Inn. The book also sets up to follow Jo Marie as she deals with the changes life has dealt her and her new start in Ceder Cove. The first two guests, Josh and Abby, are both returning to Ceder Cove to face their pasts.
There were some near paranormal events, but they didn't seem out of place. Jo Marie's husband was killed overseas and she has some "encounters" that she attributed to him and his presence. I can say that I believed it, my mother has had the kinds of dreams the Jo Marie describes and I can say the year following his death we also felt his presence around and felt as if he was still influencing our lives. I think these aspects touched me and connected me to the book.
I can't wait for the next book...as always there's a hint towards what awaits us.
I've been struggling with writing this review. As a librarian I have one view of the book and as a reader I have another, and they don't match up and I don't know how I should review the book. I finally decided to just write this review as a reader, because when I think about the library in and our readers, I don't think this book would fit in with what our YA readers are interested in reading.
This book was full of things that shocked me, especially since I was reading a YA book. The language was the first shock. There were just too many curse words for my tastes, I think the language could be toned down and still have the gritty feel that the author wanted to achieve.
The second shock was the story line involving Charity. I know things like that do happen, but it was just not what I'm used to reading. It was a bit disturbing, but it fit in with the story, again I think it could have been toned down and not so intense and still would have impacted the story appropriately.
The third shock was the end and Tony's reactions. I just feel like a kid who shows so much emotion through out the rest of the story seemed a little stunted in his reactions. The end of the story just felt like a let down.
Even with those three shocks I still really enjoyed reading this book even though it wasn't my normal genre to read. I couldn't put it down, I had to keep reading to find out what Tony would have to face next, and how his decisions would impact his life and those of his mother and friends.
I think this story also focuses and how we live up to expectations. When people have low expectations of us, we tend to only live up to those expectations and very rarely to people aim higher. Tony is an example of this, because of where he lives people have preconceived ideas about him and where he will go in life. There are a few people who know that he can do better and want to help him achieve those higher goals. Tony seems to want to get out of the trailer park and make something of himself, but the odds aren't in his favor.
This story is different from others that deal with kids/people over coming these odds, there isn't a definite ending, I don't think we know for sure if Tony will be able to get out of the trailer park, but I sure hope he does.
The cover of this book has a quote from Booklist that reads: Contains all the ingredients of a classic Howard romance. To me a "classic Howard romance" is one that with a few updates can be set in a more modern setting and still be just as good. While this wasn't one of my favorite books by Linda Howard, it was a quick and enjoyable read. Originally published in 1986 there are a few changes that would update this story quite easily. The missing microfilm turns into a flash drive, Vietnam becomes Afghanistan, there's either no connection or something happens so there's no cell phone service, and he wears a condom. This is also a classic story line, a girl gets held hostage somewhere in Central/South America and a super special elite former/current military guy goes in and rescues her. I liked Jane, she was a great heroine. She tries to be strong, but really there's only so much a girl can deal with when running through a jungle trying to survive. Grant is also great, I think one of my favorite scenes in the book is when he goes to visit his parents. He's just a backwoods country boy at heart who got lost in the dark world of the military.
I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. Stephen King and I have a so-so relationship. He likes to write stories that scare the bejeebus out of me and I like to read his books. I have only read a handful of his books and I'm always careful about which ones I pick up I tend to stay away from the books that were made into movies since the movies scare me.
I read this book in the six serialization format it was originally published in and I have to say, it was worth reading that way. If I had read the books when they were first being published I don't think I could have waited a month between books, especially between books 4 - 5 - 6. I didn't initially get into the story, the first book kind of dragged so I did wait a bit in between books. I really started to get into the story by book 3 and from there I breezed through the rest of the books. The one thing that I didn't care for, but I know was important to the format/story, was the flashes forward that start each book. I know because of the format that we had to start off with an older Paul Edgecombe to recap and then take us back into the story he's writing. Otherwise this might just be my second favorite Stephen King that I've read (#1 is The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon). View all my reviews