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Saturday, September 20, 2014

THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE (CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE)



HarperCollins|September 8, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-0-06-236354-1

''Thirty-three-year-old New Yorker, Angela Russo, dissatisfied with a career that amounts to gliding across a smooth plateau of predictability and fed up with abysmal blind dates, responds to an online personal ad written by Rich, a sailing instructor from Mount Desert Island, Maine. Angela begins to fall in love with the idea of Maine life just as much as she finds herself falling for Rich, and when her career suddenly goes up in flames, she moves to Mount Desert Island. Once she arrives, however, she learns that her vision of perfect New England life - and her perfect New England man - is far removed from reality. Rather than return to New York, Angela rents a rundown cottage and begins teaching an impromptu cooking class (based on recipes from her Italian grandmother). She befriends an eclectic handful of locals and carves out a new identity for herself. Initially, this tale of a lovelorn city girl out of her element feels like another foray into well-covered territory. But Kline (Desire Lines; Sweet Water) has a perfect sense of character and timing, and her vivid digressions on food (recipes are included) add sugar and spice to what could have been a stale premise." (Taken from Publisher's Weekly).

A thoroughly enjoyable read!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

THE STORY HOUR (THRITY UMRIGAR)




HarperCollins|August 11, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN # 978-0-06-225930-1

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she agrees to treat a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store, Lakshmi is desperately lonely.

Moved by Lakshimi's plight, Maggie offers to see her as an outpatient for free. In the course of their first sessions in Maggie's home office, she quickly realizes that what Lakshmi really needs is not a shrink but a friend, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient become close. Even though they seemingly have nothing in common, both women are haunted by loss and truths that they are afraid to reveal.

However, crossing professional boundaries has its price. As Maggie and Lakshmi's relationship deepens, long-buried secrets come to light that shake their faith in each other and force them to confront painful choices in their own lives.

I don't know how Thrity does it but she tops herself time and time again. I've read every single book she has written thus far and not one of them has been a disappointment. I was so lost and caught up in this story that I literally tuned everything and everyone else right out. This is a a beautiful story of friendship and forgiveness that you won't soon forget. Way to go Ms. Umrigar!

THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS (AMY HATVANY)




Simon & Schuster|September 11, 2013 | Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-1-4516-8813-9


Ten years ago Nicole Hunter left her family home as it was troubled and she was not able to cope with the demands of life with her disabled sister, Jenny. She gave up her therapists practice, moved to a different state, and took a job as a baker. A whole new life.

One day while working in the bakery, she thought she could clearly hear her disabled sister, Jenny say "help!". Nicole thought that odd and wondered if she was really hearing that inside her head or not. A few minutes later the word "help" again came through. Worried that something might be wrong with her sister, who was a resident of a residential care facility she phoned her mother to inquire about Jenny's well-being. When Jenny's mother told, Nicole that her developmentally delayed sister had been raped and was pregnant, the news sent Nicole reeling! Nicole decided she had to go home to help care for Jenny during her pregnancy to make up for the past ten years that she'd almost literally abandoned her. Her guilt meter was off the top.

She and her mother didn't get along all that well and often clashed and they worked around each other in silence. Nicole's mother refused to help care for Jenny at all and left all personal and other care up to Nicole alone.

Eventually, Nicole run's into her old friend, Nova and she finally has someone she can talk too and when she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life, Nicole rediscovers the beauty of sisterhood - and receives a special gift that will change her life forever.

THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS was a beautifully written story that can be read again and again and again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (JOHN GREEN)



Speak|April 8, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-0-14-242417-9

Sixteen-year-old, Hazel is dying of cancer and is permanently connected to oxygen which she carries on a little wheeled cart behind her. She attends a Cancer Support Group for teenagers where she meets, Agustus, a seventeen-year-old male who is also dying of cancer. At first their friendship is just that, a friendship but over time they begin to fall in love and what a love story it is.

They both end up reading the same book and are quite dismayed when the author leaves the ending to the story blank. It just about drives them crazy not knowing what happens to the characters in the book. Augusts and Hazel write a letter to the author asking him if he'll tell them his thoughts on the proper ending to the book. After much back and forth, the author finally invites them to come to Holland to find out.

Augustus uses his 'One Wish' from the Wish Foundation to get him and Hazel to Holland for a 3-day trip to meet with the author to find out the answers they're both so desperately seeking. Hazel's mother will accompany them on the trip as a chaperone.

Once in Holland their expectations are drastically altered and what they find is devastating to them both. This isn't what they signed up for and are severely disheartened.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS will make you laugh and make you cry. You'd best keep a box of kleenex next to you while you're reading this one. I read it in one sitting it was THAT good!!! Beautifully written.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

BUTTERNUT SUMMER (MARY MCNEAR)




HarperCollins|August 1, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-0-06-228316-0

Every summer on Butternut Lake the tourists arrive, the shops open, and the waves lap its tree-lined shores, just as they have for years. But this season everything changes for one mother and daughter who've always called the lake home...

Caroline's life is turned upside down the moment her ex-husband, Jack, strides through the door of her coffee shop. He seems changed - stronger, steadier, and determined to make amends with Caroline and their daughter, Daisy. Is he really different, or is he the same irresistibly charming but irresponsible man he was when he left Butternut Lake eighteen years ago? Caroline, who life is stuck on pause as her fianances are going down the tubes, is tempted to let him back into her life...but would it be wise?

For Caroline's daughter, Daisy, the summer is filled with surprises. Home from college, she's reunited with the father the adores - but hardly knows - and swept away by her first true love. But Will isn't what her mother wants for her - all Caroline can see is that he's the kind of sexy "bad boy" Daisy should stay away from.

As the long days of summer pass, Daisy and Caroline come to realize that even if Butternut Lake doesn't change, life does.

BUTTERNUT LAKE was such an uplifting, pleasant, breezy read. A great book for laying on the beach and soaking up the sun, or sitting in a comfy chair listening to rain pounding on the roof. You'll get lost in the lives of the characters on Butternut Lake and enjoy the banter and relationships that wind their way through from distrust to trust, from uncertainty to love, and from disaster to success. A beautiful story all round.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

HAUNTED (KAY HOOPER)

 
 

Berkley Trade|September 2, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN # 978-0-425-25939-9

How do you make peace with the dead if the dead aren't ready to forgive? The answer lies in the twisting shadows of a small town, and its secrets yet unearthed...

When Deacon Jame's younger sister Melanie calls him, terrified, he goes to her aid in the small Georgia town of Sociable. What he finds is a scared young woman in the grip of what she insists is a paranormal nightmare and murder. Two local men have been killed under mysterious circumstances. And Melanie is the prime suspect.

Trinity NIchols left a high-stress job for quiet, small-town life. But news of the murders has left her and the town on edge, especially when there is nothing remotely ordinary about how the men died. And her investigation is yielding more than she bargained for, including a group of strangers who have descended on Sociable, some with abilities Trinity finds hard to believe, and agendas she refuses to trust. For some reason, they know a lot more than they should about what's happening in town. And what's happening is growing stranger by the minute.

Now Trinity, Deacon, and his odd band of FBI agents must work together to solve a series of disturbances so incredible that Trinity, and the town of Sociable, will be changed forever. She just isn't certain who or what will be left standing when it's all over.

For me, Haunted was a disappointment. It didn't really hold my interest like all Kay's other novels have. I'm usually spellbound by her writings but this story lacked her usual spit and polish and left me feeling hugely unsatisfied. To me it lacked action and was more of a conversation that took place between a group of people taking guesses as to what they thought was going on up on the mountain with the murders and the evil that was responsible for these murders. I just felt a bit ripped off after paying over $30.00 for a book I didn't really enjoy and was disappointed in Kay for the first time, but I suppose we can't always be spot on. Hopefully other people will get more out of this story than I did.

Monday, September 8, 2014

THE RIVER (BEVERELY LEWIS)



Baker Publishing Group | September 2, 2014 | Hardcover | ISBN # 978-0-7542-1245-1





My Review:
 
 
 
Tilly has been gone from her Amish home for eight years now and has been living the life of an Englisher. She uses all the modern conveniences of the English world even driving a red car. Growing up she never had the use of modern conveniences and her family would be so dismayed to see her using them now. But Tilly wasn't treated very well by her Dad all her growing up years, it's like he hated her for some reason and their is a family secret that will be revealed in the story to explain this.

However, even as her English husband has said, Tilly may be English in a lot of ways but she hasn't lost her hard work ethic she learned growing up Amish. "Amish roots are planted deep within her." Tilly is also passing her Amish roots onto their two four-year-old daughters, Jenya and Tavani.

Tilly has received a note in the mail from one of her brothers, Melvin, requesting she return to their Amish home for an anniversary celebration and he wants her to convince her younger sister, Ruthie to come with her. Ruthie is also living the English life but is unmarried and their Dad blames Tilly for as he says convincing Ruth to go English too.

Tilly was unsure as to whether she was brave enough to return home considering the way her Dad has always acted toward her. She and her father just never saw eye-to-eye, and Tilly still felt responsible for the death of another sister at age five and going home would mean perhaps reliving those memories.

Five years after Tilly left for the English world, Ruthie followed in her footsteps. Of course their father blamed Tilly for that. Tilly and Ruth's father, at age 58, isn't doing so very well. His heart is giving up and if he wants to live beyond a few more months, then he would need to have a pacemaker implanted but Melvin and his other brothers feel there is no way their father will go for that. He really needs Tilly and Ruth to come home for this November celebration but hated to use their father's ill health to get them there. What will he do? Even Melvin's wife, Susannah thought Melvin should tell Tilly and Ruth about their Dad's weak heart. Somehow he had to convince the two sisters to come home and who knows, this may be the last opportunity for the entire family to be together at once.

Finally, Tilly and Ruth decide to go home for the celebration with much trepidation. Is it going to be a happy, nice reunion/celebration or one filled will angst and trouble?

THE RIVER is a beautiful read for a nice rainy day. You just hunker down with a hot cup of tea and read away as you'll be captivated from the first page to the last.