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Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
G. M. (Gina Marie) is married, has two grown children, a Schnauzer and a white cat that sheds on everything. She loves to cook, bake and read. G. M. is a cynic hiding in a happy go-lucky woman’s body. She is most definitely not a morning person. Please visit G. M. Barlean at: website: GMBarlean.com blog: http://gmbarlean.wordpress.com G. M.’s second book, Dead Blow will be available by the end of 2012.
Wow. This is one of those compelling books that kept me up all night to read it, and when it was over, all I could was think, "Wow. That was one of the most emotionally-charged books I've ever read." After reading Prelude - Casting Stones, I was eager to find out what happened to James Raven and Esther. James chose to marry someone else, leaving Esther heartbroken. After his wife dies, he returns, and Esther believes this is her second chance.
It's hard to say what happens in this book without spoiling it, and I don't want to put up any spoilers. So I'll try to sum it up without ruining the plot. I'll say right away it was not predictable at all. I thought the characters would end up going one way, but they went another. That's what compelled me to keep reading, and in the end, it's what made me say, "Wow. What a great book!"
This isn't a warm and fuzzy book. Esther does get her wish. She gets to marry James and she has his child, but life doesn't turn out as she hoped. There are hard issues addressed here. For one, we take a look at the power of resentment as it builds up over time. What starts as a selfish act didn't lead either character in the direction they wanted to ultimately be in. It's hard not to think of this book without tearing up. The issues mentioned in relation to human emotions are so authentic you can't help but sympathize for even the unlikeable characters in the book. Nothing is black and white. With this book, it's all shades of gray.
I look forward to the next book this author writes, and I will understand next time that I can't predict what will happen and probably find myself reading late at night while I try not to cry.
A great dramatic read that takes place in Nebraska and Missouri in the 1920s to 1940s. The characters are so vibrant and rich, you'll feel like you know them. But there is one you most certainly won't want to: Esther Barton, a vengeful, bitter woman who makes for a nasty villain right from the start, though one-dimensional she is not.
This book is well-written and flows from beginning to end. Although it is a quick read, this is not synonymous with a light read, as there is plenty of family drama and turmoil throughout. But there are also flashes of goodness and joy. As a reader, we expect to feel emotion, and this book does not disappoint.
I read the ebook version and found it well-formatted and virtually errorless. I highly recommend this to others. It may take you out of your comfort zone at times, but that is why we read. To get lost in a different world. My hats off to the author! Let's hope we hear more from her!
Loved this book. Each character is so real to me...and when I finished the novel and was thinking back to the "Prelude" short story, I realized how each character had aged over the story, entirely realistically.
This is a story of love against all odds. James goes through the same "doing well" / "falling short" cycle that so many of us feel we experience ourselves. In the end, he's a great picture of love and grace.
It's also a story of love and kindness and joy almost bursting into bloom--and then that bud of beauty shriveling and being destroyed by fear and by a lifetime of ugly patterns. That fear and those ugly patterns then deepen and turn into a bitter woman. Loved this description of Esther:
Her eyes held anger and judgment, and her well-worn housedress tried to show humility, but pride could be seen in her haughty eyes. She had no use for adornments. She wore anger, frustration, and exhaustion like jewelry.
These are people who have now become a part of my life, and I treasure having gotten to know them. Great story, and fully worth your time!
It has been a very long time since I have had an emotional investment in a book. Casting Stones had me in it's grip from the beginning of page 1. There were times when I was reading that I wanted to literally yell and scream at the characters in this book. There where times where I felt sad for some of the characters in the story. There were times when I had to set the book down and come back to it because I couldn't stand to read anymore about what was going on. This book was a masterpiece when it comes to getting you invested in the characters and the story.
Speaking of the characters; they were so well crafted! James, one of the main characters was a prime example of this. In the beginning of the story I felt sorry for him, then there were parts that I was so angry at him that I probably would have tried to deck him if I met him in real life, then I went back to feeling sorry for him. There was just an emotional connection with all of the characters in this book.
I'm not going to go into the plot because I don't want to give anything away. You have to read this book to fully appreciate what goes on it it. My retelling of the plot would not do it justice.
This book is a must read for any and all readers. It doesn't matter what genre you like; I believe you will like this book. Thank you again Gina for sending me this book. I can't wait for your next book to come out!