Thursday, December 14, 2006

Awakening by Kate Austin

I love the cover of this book and I'm not quite sure why. There are more than enough headless-female book covers around, these days. But, perhaps the combination of motion and flowing layers appeals to my eye. Regardless, I got this book in the mail very recently, but I read it when I did because the cover kept grabbing my eye.

Awakening, as it turned out, sucked me right in. Francesca Bond is exhausted, living in a rough neighborhood and barely surviving on the income from two jobs. She's heard rumors about a house that only appears on Midsummer's Eve, where people disappear for a year and come back healed. But it's not till she must run from three dangerous men on her frightening nightly walk home that she's faced with the welcoming lights at the end of a dark alley.

The beginning of Awakening had a wonderful other-worldly feel, with Francesca running through fog in a panic. However, about halfway through the novel, the setting began to feel a little trite and the plot dragged. Still, I loved the characters and cared enough to hang in there and find out what would happen to Francesca. While I don't think the house's setting and its relationship to Francesca's other home was fully thought-out and explained, there was never a point at which I felt like I was wasting my time. And, I wasn't disappointed. The ending returned to that mystical, almost paranormal swirl of sensations and concluded in a satisfying way. I had a terrible time putting it down, sneaked in some reading time at the swim meet (between my son's events) and in the car (while my camera battery recharged), then finished the book as soon as we returned from Louisiana.

There's a bit of romance thrown into the latter third of the book and my opinion of that was kind of neutral. I didn't like the couple's conclusion about how to handle their relationship - it just felt too contrived - and yet, I think the added character helped revive the story a tad, just as it was losing steam.

For the fact that it was so hard to put down, 4/5. And, I will definitely seek out future novels by this author.

Coming up next, a review of Holly by Jude Deveraux.

And, a quick anecdote. We still own the car in which I commuted to Oklahoma State University to finish my degree, over 21 years ago, after my husband graduated with his master's degree and moved us to Tulsa. When the elderly Nissan finally ground to a halt, hubby couldn't figure out how to repair the worst of its problems and it sits, unused, with tires that have lost their air and a coating of mold, ivy growing up and over the tires, on our driveway. While returning from errands, last night, we were discussing how we could possibly get rid of the car. I said, "Maybe we could dismantle it, piece by piece, and haul the pieces away. It doesn't function, and it's just sitting there taking up space, totally useless."

Son #2 jumped in, at this point. "It's not totally useless," he said. "It's home to many life forms." Oh my gosh. Never say anything that funny when I'm driving.

Hubby didn't think this was nearly as riotous as I did, because he once climbed into the car after we'd let it sit for a time (kept, for a while, as an extra car for when the eldest son began to drive) and as he pulled out of the driveway the interior of the car was suddenly filled with wasps. Not a great moment for him.

Okay, off I go to do my chores and possibly sneak in a few pages. I'm currently reading The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason and loving it. My stomach just made this huge, grinding noise. Oh, yeah. I forgot to eat breakfast! I guess I'll do that, first.

Review catch-up #3, coming up soon. At least, that's the plan.


  1. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Off topic again - I finished Touched By Angels yesterday. It was very cute! Perfect for the holidays, thanks again! I probably wont get to reviewing it, since I'm getting sicker as the week goes on. (Bad cold or laryngitis or something... whatever it is, my head is swimming.)
    But anyway, I agree that it was a very sweet book.. and yes, would have been nice to have more of the angels. Their names alone made me want to read it! Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy.. too cute!

  2. Angela,

    I don't mind off-topic posting. I'm so glad you enjoyed Touched by Angels! I loved those names, too. I think there were three books in the angels series, but I haven't located the other two. I know they came out with a book with at least two of the stories in it, under the same cover. Naturally, one's the title you and I just read (and who wants to buy the same book twice?).

    I'm sorry you're still feeling awful. It stinks to be sick any time, much less when you're coming up on a holiday. Sending get-well hugs.

  3. This is a cool book cover!! And by the way, I am stunned by the amount of comments on your 12/10 post. 53 and counting! Glad to see so many are joining your challenge.

  4. Les,

    Isn't it pretty? I have trouble parting with books that are so pleasant to look at.

    I've been a little stunned by the response, too! One of the coolest things about this challenge is the introduction to a whole new bunch of reading blogs. Now, if I could just get that high-speed connection so I can visit them all!!!

  5. Not me! I have enough blog-reading to do than add more to my list! I've even had to drop a few from my daily visits. I discovered I was spending far too much time reading and commenting on blogs and my book reading was suffering. Now I limit myself to my absolute favorites. Of course that's about 2 dozen! :)

  6. Les,

    I'll probably drop a few when I add. I know exactly what you mean. Blog-hopping is very time-consuming. At least for now, some just won't load at all or take forever. I'm getting a lot of error messages, too, even on my favorite blogs. I hope nobody's offended that I'm not going to even be able to see their challenge posts. It's been ridiculous, this past couple of weeks.

  7. I've not read this. At first, I thought you were referring to "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin, a classic love story along the lines of Madame Bovary in that there's a tragic ending. The cover on this one is enticing!

  8. Bellezza,

    I've got The Awakening and selected stories of Kate Chopin sitting right here next to me! Funny you should mention that one. I was thinking about making it one of my classic reads but there are so many I want to read that I had to stop myself from going too far. Tragic, eh? I'll have to remember not to read that one when I'm in a blue mood! I'm a very sensitive chick, ya know. I think one of the reasons it caught my eye was because of the Awakening book I just read by Kate Austin. You have to wonder if she was thinking of the other Kate's Awakening when she came up with the story (although the one I reviewed has an upbeat ending), don't you?

  9. Anonymous10:32 PM

    Hmmmm I am going to add that to my Christmas list. Sounds like a really good book actually. Thanks for that!


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