Monday, February 27, 2017

The Roanoke Girls and Hearth Stone - Fiction Short Reviews

Sometimes after I read a book I just don't have enough to say to constitute a full review.  When this happens I like to combine a few of those for short reviews.  Today is one of those posts!

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Description:  An old isolated family home and a family where all the girls are known for being beautiful and meeting untimely ends.  Lane and run away from her grandparents' home vowing never to return when she was just a teenager but a desperate middle of the night call from her grandfather with the news that her cousin Allegra is missing brings her back and all the old demons are swirled up again.

My Thoughts:  I was pulled into the story immediately.  I loved how Engel alternating "Then" and "Now" chapters as well as different narrators.  The writing was compelling and the atmosphere was creepy and claustrophobic.  Even when everything seemed okay it felt obvious that something wasn't right.  However, this family is dysfunctional to levels I've never seen and after the 2nd secret was revealed I just couldn't continue reading it.  If you can handle dark and disturbing this is a book worth reading.  I don't want to spoil it here but if you're looking for a spoiler check out this review.  I think this book will really work for a lot of people and I'm looking forward to seeing what this author comes up with next but for me I just couldn't get past the "secret".  DNF'd at 25%

Hearth Stone (Home in the Hills #1/Hope Springs #4) by Lois Greiman
Description:  Poor little rich girl, Sydney Wellesley, has lost her fiance, her dream of making the US equestrian team, and finally the support of her cold, unforgiving family.  When her financial support dries up right after she buys a dilapidated ranch she's alone and almost defeated.  With the help of a wounded wild horse and assortment of local characters is it possible that she can find her way on her own?

My Thoughts:  One of the chief complaints I've seen for this book is that the main character isn't likable.  And she really isn't.  She's a bit stuck up, she's very formal, and she's definitely not winning any prizes for compassion.  However, while I normally have to really connect to the main character in a more character driven novel I had no issue with this book.  No, Sydney isn't someone I'd immediately want to grab coffee with but I did understand her.  She comes off as not likable because she knows no other way to be and with her upbringing has no other choice but very slowly she starts to break out of her shell and that was really fun to see.  I enjoyed the interactions between the different characters - especially between Sydney and Hunt.  While there is an injured horse it wasn't an act of cruelty nor are the injuries described in real detail and it was a really heartwarming part of the story.  My main problem with this book was that I just wanted more - I wanted to see more of Sydney becoming who she's just figuring out she can be and more of her developing relationships with Hunter and the other characters.  As well I wanted more idea of the path of the ranch itself.  This is the first of a series so I'm hoping I'll get that "more" in the next books.  If you enjoy women's fiction and don't need everything resolved at the end I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable read.  Rating:  Good

17 comments:

  1. Oh man I am starting The Roanoke Girls later this week so now I am a little hesitant! Great reviews!

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  2. That book cover for Hearth Stone reminds me of another cover, maybe a book by Sarah Raynes or ? I will figure that out.
    Ugh....so glad you wrote that about Roanoke Girls before I made a mistake and got it. The spoiler link was perfect, I'll have to go over there again and leave a comment on that blog. Well written review. Definitely poor subject matter and honestly, I would have been mad if I had slogged through the entire book for that "secret"!

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  3. I'm planning on trying THE ROANOKE GIRLS, but I'm also pretty sure I know what the 'secret' is. We'll see. Sometimes, I can handle things and sometimes not. As I shared with a book I quit recently, certain things just push a 'hot button' for me. Blood and gore I can take. Other things - not so much. I'll report my experience when I try the book. And I didn't go and look at the spoiler.

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  4. I was planning on reading the Roanoke girls but now I'm a little nervous about it. I think I'll still give it a go but I'm hesitant now. Great reviews though!

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  5. I'm still curious about Roanoke Girls, now I'm curious about this secret you couldn't get past. I really love the authors writing.. so maybe I'll give it a shot.

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  6. Hearth Stone has a nice cover.

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  7. These days, it's super hard for me to get through a book that's either slow, or short on characterization, so this is one I probably wouldn't grab. Loved your review, though!

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  8. I appreciate your thoughts on Roanoke Girls (as well as the link to the other review). Thanks for saving me the time as I'm sure I'd give up at the point you did. Too bad.
    I also read Hearth Stone and felt the same as you. I didn't read the next in the series but maybe someday. I liked the characters.

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  9. You know I had to go look and find out what the secret is in Roanoke Girls. I don't think I would care for this one.

    In regards to Heath Stone, I think characters are important but every once in a while I can really enjoy a book where I don't like any of the characters. Glad this one worked out for you.

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  10. I thought about getting Roanoke Girls but I am kind of glad I didn't though I must say I am a bit curious about the secrets...lol.

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  11. I want to read The Roanoke Girls. People on Goodreads are giving it one and two stars based solely on what it's about, but I know it's not promoting it, so that doesn't make sense to me. It's like giving a bad rating to a story about any negative issue being called out for being horrific. Two thumbs up for explaining why you dnfed and not passing it off as a bad book. :)

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  12. Wait, I just read the review you linked that said they made the "secret" okay. All the bloggers I know who read it said that it showed all the horrible negative effects it had on the girls. Now I am confused. O____O

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  13. Both of these look good but not sure if either is really for me. That usually makes me even more curious to read them.

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  14. I found the Roanoke Girls a rather disturbing but compelling read.

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  15. I saw one or two who liked The Roanoke Girls, but definitely not for me. Will pass it by. And Hearth Stone just might give you what you'd like to see in the next book in the series.

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  16. Wait, I just read the review you linked that said they made the "secret" okay. All the bloggers I know who read it said that it showed all the horrible negative effects it had on the girls. Now I am confused. O____O

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  17. I passed on an offer for Roanoke Girls. I may just have to pick it up. You have me curious.

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