Irish writer Marian Keyes has another great book out just in time for beach season. This Charming Man is told in the voice of 4 very...moredue out June 2008
Irish writer Marian Keyes has another great book out just in time for beach season. This Charming Man is told in the voice of 4 very different women who have all tangled with one nasty man over the course of several years. Paddy de Courcy is a cad no matter how you slice it--but a very successful one. He's second in command of the up and coming political party New Ireland and about to be married in a very lavish celebrity sort of way. But his trail of misdeeds is catching up with him as the women he has wronged, and the people who love them, find each other and the strength to at long last fight back. Keyes is a genius at writing in very distinct and very different voices yet blending them all to tell a story that at times is horrific and at times hilarious. This is a hefty read (560+pages in the ARC) but so lively it will leave you wanting more as these women become familiar friends that you can't help but cheer for and cry with.(less)
This books dumps you right in the middle of a young woman's life. She's taking a bold and unusual step--she's come to take care of her estranged broth...moreThis books dumps you right in the middle of a young woman's life. She's taking a bold and unusual step--she's come to take care of her estranged brother who is dying of AIDS. At first she finds herself ill-prepared for the task, but as they get to know each other she comes to better know herself, and then lose herself in her grief for the years she lost with this man. His death sends her spiraling downward and her loyal troupe of flamboyant friends drag her back to life--and new discoveries about old feelings. This book is all about the value of friendship, family, and knowing yourself. There are hilarious moments, tender moments, tear jerking moments, and loads of memorable characters. What really drew me in is the novel's extensive use of music to set the mood, tempo and themes of the moment--there is a clear and strong soundtrack to this book that had me jumping on ITunes and/or digging through old CDs to enhance my reading. T his is Weiss's first novel--but I am VERY sure it will not be her last--she has a strong and talented voice that will resonate for people and make them come back again and again. (less)
Trish was a woman on a mission--she wanted to find true faith and true love, preferably all at the same time. She cycled through various spiritual pra...moreTrish was a woman on a mission--she wanted to find true faith and true love, preferably all at the same time. She cycled through various spiritual practices almost as fast as she cycled through several less than enlightened men. She was a lawyer until she got married for the first time--then, when the marriage became abusive, she fled and lived in hiding several years, eventually becoming a spiritual teacher. But it all still left her empty and alone until she "stumbled" over Christianity and the Vineyard Church. What follows is sometimes funny, sometimes agonizing as she tries to come to terms with the concept of Jesus and what it means to chose him as a savior--and as a matchmaker. Preachy at times, it's still a great read because she redefines "happily ever after" in a charming and hopeful way. (less)
McCleary is a genius at realistically showing how, when things are falling apart all around us, we find a way to focus on one thing to help us handle...moreMcCleary is a genius at realistically showing how, when things are falling apart all around us, we find a way to focus on one thing to help us handle the load. For Ellen Flanagan, it's her house. Which she's had to sell because she and her husband are mortgaged to the eyeballs after another one of her husband's inventions fails to be the "must have" thing of the year. It's the last straw for Ellen, who is now also divorcing her husband because she just can't stand the lifestyle anymore--they've moved too many times to try too many ideas of her husband's that have failed too outstandingly. Ellen has roots here--her kids have been born here, she's built up a business of her own, and she's fixed up their house to be a her own dream come true. But selling that dream has sent Ellen floundering so much that she hatches a scheme--if she can't have her house, no one can, especially the Uber Soccer Mom and Social Climber who has bought it and is in her face daily to get "measurements" for the contractors that will be there soon to gut Ellen's dream. Ellen decides to burn the place down. I won't tell you more, except that things don't exactly go as planned, to say the least. (less)
Karen Neches' Earthly Pleasures is aptly named--what a fabulous, fun, heart warmning book this is! The story centers on Skye Sebring, a hospitality gr...moreKaren Neches' Earthly Pleasures is aptly named--what a fabulous, fun, heart warmning book this is! The story centers on Skye Sebring, a hospitality greeter for Heaven --the Pearly Gates are just a thrill ride in the many attractions of Heaven, which also include Nocturnal Theatre, where you can view your dreams, Retail Rapture, the Universe's biggest mall (where, of course, everything is free) and so much more. Skye's job is to greet the newly dead, answer their questions, review their personal welcoming DVD with them, and get them settled in Newcomer Housing. She's a New Soul, meaning she's never been to earth, but she's good at her job (though it's felt she's too handy with Tranquility in a Can, which is used on the overly upset arrivals to help their adjustment). She's only existed a year, has this great job and a lovely boyfriend, and has no interest in Earth whatsoever. That is until a brief encounter with Ryan Blaine, who pops into her office after a motorcycle accident but is revived on Earth and pops back out, leaves her head over cloudy heels for him. Then she gets the call--she's going to Earth for her first life (and is taught the basics of living there with the help of 5 Beatles songs, complete with a solo from the Supreme Being Herself). Usually those sent to earth begin as babies, but Skye is no ordinary case. What happens to her--the story of love and friendship, faith and fate, will bring a smile to your face and more than a few tears to your eye as the book ends. Neches' creative, entertaining, funny and remarkable book is truly an earthly pleasure to read!(less)
Oh, what a lovely and entertaining book! This will make a perfect lighthearted summer read. From the author of Must Love Dogs, this new book introduce...moreOh, what a lovely and entertaining book! This will make a perfect lighthearted summer read. From the author of Must Love Dogs, this new book introduces us to 41 year old Ginger Walsh who hasn't quite figured out what she wants to be when she grows up. She's currently living in her parents FROG (finished room over garage) and free lancing as something of a jewelry designer, though there is some doubt to whether or not it's she or her cat Boyfriend who has the better design eye. Add a sister obsessed with turning 50, a mismatched set of parents who are pretty far out there, a nephew in a shark attack movie that's missing a shark and some romantic confusion about gaffers and glass blowers and you have the ingredients for a book that is very difficult to put down and will surely make you laugh out loud at least once...more likely once a page! (less)
Clair Cook (author of Life's a Beach and Must Love Dogs) has done it again--Summer Blowout is another great summer beach read that will make youlaugh...moreClair Cook (author of Life's a Beach and Must Love Dogs) has done it again--Summer Blowout is another great summer beach read that will make youlaugh out loud darn near every page. This time she introduces us to Bella Shaughnessy, a hairdresser and makeup artist who is addicted to lipstick. She works in the big, chaotic family business though things have been rather awkward since her half sister started dating her exhusband. Things get even more interesting after tiny "purse pooch" Precious and handsome entrepreneur Sean enter the picture. There are many giggles and makeup tips in this breezy summer read--it's too fun to miss (especially the "combover intervention"--you just HAVE to read it). (less)
Growing pains don't stop when the birthday clock rolls into the 20's (and beyond)--but it's never too late to grow up. That seems to be the underlying...moreGrowing pains don't stop when the birthday clock rolls into the 20's (and beyond)--but it's never too late to grow up. That seems to be the underlying theme to the often hilarious and sometimes cringingly close to home frenemies by Megan Crane. She defines a frenemie as "the friend who gives you the sweetest smile to your face, while holding the sharpest knife to your back". The story centers on Augusta (Gus)Curtis who, in the shadow of her 30th birthday, discovers her boyfriend kissing a friend of hers when he's supposedly home sick. Her entire clutch of friends gets involved in the drama, opening more dramas and eventually new light on old friendships. It's a coming of age novel for those in their late twenties that is entertaining yet still manages to touch on some major themes of self respect, friendship and what it means to be an adult. (less)
This book caught me with it's subtitle "Love On The Road From A to Z". It's an interesting premise--Tom, long time friend of Natalie, wants 26 days wi...moreThis book caught me with it's subtitle "Love On The Road From A to Z". It's an interesting premise--Tom, long time friend of Natalie, wants 26 days with her to prove that he is truly "more than a friend" material. Each day is to have a theme starting with the corresponding letter of the alphabet, and she and he will take turns thinking up the day's theme.
I expected light and airy chic lit, and got it, but with a healthy helping of much more. Interwoven with Tom and Natalie's story is the story of Natalie's parents--Mom Anna is facing a crushing depression and Dad Nicholas ends up with health struggles of his own changing their time-rich but also time-worn relationship.
Another thread in the story is Tom's brother Patrick , who has lost his job but is hiding it from his family. What he doesn't realize is that he has lost his wife Lucy as well as she falls into an affair with her best friend's husband.
We learn a great deal about all three of these couples in this quick but enjoyable read--Noble does a nice job of showing us the beginning, middle and end of love between two people.
The author of The Jane Austen Book Club has struck again--delightfully. This book is not a mystery but it IS about a mystery writer, her goddaughter,...moreThe author of The Jane Austen Book Club has struck again--delightfully. This book is not a mystery but it IS about a mystery writer, her goddaughter, and some mysterious past events. There are multiple story lines in this book, including highly imaginative plots for the books written by Addison (though, despite attempts throughout the book by many, not a clue about what the new book is about until the very, very, very end). It's a tad confusing at times since Addison has a tendency to use "real" peoples names for her book characters and similarbutdifferent situations happen to both. I found it an utterly engrossing, charming, chaotic book with a lot of beginnings and no true ending. Every single character in this book is quirky and intriguing.
Mystery readers willing to laugh about themselves will really dig this book--I know I did. Everyone else will love these delightful character(including a couple of snuffling and snarky miniature dachshunds--gotta love a book that includes critters as important members of the cast).
This is a fun, quick, southern style romp of a love story. It pokes a bit of fun of cooking shows and reality television, which is always fun in my bo...moreThis is a fun, quick, southern style romp of a love story. It pokes a bit of fun of cooking shows and reality television, which is always fun in my book. The premise: small time TV cooks Gina Foxton (focus on healthy, local, fresh eating) and Tate Moody (focus on hunt it, shoot it, cook it) are uneasily sharing PBS production space for their respective shows. When their unusual chemistry is noted by a visiting NY producer a competition begins, morphing into a reality TV show, pitting them against each other for a prime time show on the Food Channel. Add a whole host of quirky side characters and you've got one entertaining story. There's even recipes included in the book.
Fans of Joanne Fluke and Diane Mott Davidson should eat this one right up (every last pun intended). (less)
The writers of The Nanny Diaries and Citizen Girl have brought us another delightful book--Dedication. It about what it's like to be pushing 30 but fi...moreThe writers of The Nanny Diaries and Citizen Girl have brought us another delightful book--Dedication. It about what it's like to be pushing 30 but finally getting a chance to make your high school revenge fantasy come true. And Kate Hollis has more than the typical reasons for wanting revenge--not only did her boyfriend inexplicably abandon her and the whole town the day of senior prom, he went on to be a huge rock star writing about HER and her family's dirty laundry. And then there's the lack of royalty checks to his former band members--and her dear friends. And every social occasion that was ruined for her by one of his songs showing up at it. Who can blame her for hopping the first plane available--in her pajamas--when she gets the call that Jake has turned up in his home town for Christmas.
At times hilarious and painful (sometimes at the same time) this book is a wonderful read for anyone who has ever dreamed of getting even with the past or has wondered "what if" about someone who has disappeared from their lives.
At long last the beloved writer of the young adult series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has brought us a novel for adults (though I fully admi...moreAt long last the beloved writer of the young adult series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has brought us a novel for adults (though I fully admit that I LOVE the Sisterhood books and I'm FAR from being a teenager).
The Last Summer (of You and Me) centers on Riley and Alice, sisters in their twenties, and their relationship with the past, the present and the next door neighbor boy-now-man. In this last summer they must learn to deal with new love, old loyalties, serious illness and the last painful stages of growing up and becoming their adult selves.
Told in three different voices (a specialty of Brashares), the story moves along quickly and with great emotion. This book was meant to be read in the sand with the sound of waves breaking and the memories of summers past to set the mood--but will be just as moving on your morning bus ride this summer. (less)
Anita Shreve comes through once again with an emotional and involving look at interpersonal relationships.
Body Surfing tells the story of Sydney, a yo...moreAnita Shreve comes through once again with an emotional and involving look at interpersonal relationships.
Body Surfing tells the story of Sydney, a young woman who takes a summer tutoring job to get off the emotional roller coaster of her life for a bit. At the tender age of 29 she's been divorced from her first husband and widowed by her second. Tutoring sweet but slow Julie at her parents sea side vacation home seems like just the calming ticket to Sydney, and it is, until Julie's two brother's show up. Ben, Jeff and Sydney become entangled in ways that change everyone's lives as old scores are settled with fresh attacks in a family where appearances mean more than realities. (less)
I ordinarily would not even consider writing a review for a book after only spending 1 1/2 hours with it, but I simply cannot wait to tell people abou...moreI ordinarily would not even consider writing a review for a book after only spending 1 1/2 hours with it, but I simply cannot wait to tell people about this book.
Heather McElhatton, radio host, producer and now author, may well be a genius. Remember the books when we were kids that made you decide at the end of each chapter where you wanted to go next, letting you chose your ending? Pretty Little Mistakes is the grownup version with literally 150 different possible endings.
The story is about you--you've just graduated from high school and you must decide whether you want to go to college or you want to travel. From there the stories branch off in several intriguing--and I'll admit addictive--ways. In my short afternoon with this book, I : died of cervical cancer; murdered my abusive husband; was killed by a terrorist attack in Chad; was murdered by a 4 foot albino; died a very old woman responsible for saving/impro ving thousands of lives through free clinics. All of which involved only subtly different choices at the end of some of the same sections.
Clearly all of the endings are not "happily ever after", but they are intruiging and page turning. I couldn't help myself--I kept diving back in to see how one or two changed decisions would change "my" life. And I'm not done yet! I just had to stop long enough to tell say "READ THIS BOOK!" (less)
I didn't know, diving into this book, that it was the third book in a series. So maybe my 3 stars isn't entirely fair, since one of the things I didn'...moreI didn't know, diving into this book, that it was the third book in a series. So maybe my 3 stars isn't entirely fair, since one of the things I didn't like was lack of character dimension. These characters had been developed over two whole books previously so no time was wasted on back-story with them which left me feeling pretty flat about them. But still, it is a fun, vampiric, chic-lit romp that offered some laughs. I'd still recommend starting at the beginning: Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula. The second installment is Happy Hour at Casa Dracula. Fans of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse will like these books though they are a bit more urbane. Christopher Moore, author of Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck, gave a nice blurb to the first book in the series as well.(less)