Eilis Lacey has spent her whole life in the same small town in Ireland with her mother and her charismatic older sister Rose. Rose is successful, beauEilis Lacey has spent her whole life in the same small town in Ireland with her mother and her charismatic older sister Rose. Rose is successful, beautiful, outgoing and everything that Eilis thinks she isn't. Eilis has high hopes though and is studying bookkeeping and accounting, which lands her a mediocre job at a local store. Rose wants more for her sister though and through her connections, she puts Eilis in contact with an Irish priest that lives in Brooklyn. He wants to sponsor Eilis and get her a job at a Brooklyn store all while she studies at the local college. This sounds too good to be true! So, even though her mother is sad to see her go and Eilis feels guilty about leaving Rose behind to take care of their aging mother, she takes the plunge and goes to Brooklyn. After a few treacherous nights at sea, she makes it there in one piece and starts over at a boardinghouse filled with other Irish girls as well as her new job in Brooklyn. As Eilis grows and learns, she meets new people and one boy catches her eye. But what about her life back in Ireland? Can you really ever say goodbye to home? Colm Toibin's Brooklyn is a quiet sort of reflective coming of age tale that really tugged on my heartstrings. I loved Toibin's take on the immigrant experience as well as the emotional journey a person must undergo when he leaves his family and homeland behind.
Vanessa (Van) Moran is a successful professional organizer living out her dream in New York City. She left her Jersey Shore beach town behind her alonVanessa (Van) Moran is a successful professional organizer living out her dream in New York City. She left her Jersey Shore beach town behind her along with all of the memories. In fact, she hasn't returned since that fateful night she suddenly. Her cousin's husband has unexpectedly died, so she has returned for his funeral. Her cousin, Gigi, used to be her best friend, but she hasn't seen her in years. There's also other people she's reunited with, such as, her good friend Suze, a struggling professor. There's also her older friend, Dorie, who owns the Blue Crab Restaurant that Van used to work as a teenager. Plus, Dorie has helped her out countless times when she was growing up, so reuniting with her has been memorable. However, there is one person she doesn't want to see and that is her ex-boyfriend, Joe. She loved him tremendously, but there was some drama and she left it all behind, despite both of their lingering feelings. Can Van mend these bridges or will she leave her old shore town for good and never come back again? Shelley Noble's quiet beach read, Whisper Beach, is a slow moving novel that focuses on the complex relationships people form in a small town that knows your every move.
War is looming in France and the year is 1940. Viann has to say goodbye to her husband as he is off to fight against the invading German army. She hopWar is looming in France and the year is 1940. Viann has to say goodbye to her husband as he is off to fight against the invading German army. She hopes that he will return soon to their provincial life on a small farm in the Loire Valley. They have one daughter together, Sophie, and Viann leads a rather average life as a schoolteacher. This all changes when her estranged sister, Isabelle, shows up from Paris, along with many other people fleeing from the Germans. Their father has sent Isabelle to live with Viann as Paris is no longer safe, but Isabelle isn't your usual girl. She has been thrown out of many prestigious schools, is feisty, opinionated, restless and not easily controlled. This becomes a problem as Viann's town has been taken over by the Germans. In fact, a German officer has to stay in their house, which makes things rather dangerous for the two women. Isabelle realizes that she can't sit by and watch horrible things happen to her country and her people, so she becomes a part of the Resistance. This puts her sister and niece in a precarious situation, so she knows it is time to leave them and head back to Paris in order to play a stronger role in the Resistance. Although Viann doesn't play a very active role in the Resistance as Isabelle, she too has many important decisions and sacrifices to make during wartime. The two women's journeys stayed with me long after I finished the novel. Weeks later, I am still thinking about this book. Kristin Hannah has hit a home run with The Nightingale. It's a powerful and important read about what life was like during World War II and how many women played important roles in the war, but often their stories go untold.
Everyday on the train into London, Rachel Watson looks out the window at the houses that fly by. She is especially intrigued by a couple that lives byEveryday on the train into London, Rachel Watson looks out the window at the houses that fly by. She is especially intrigued by a couple that lives by the train tracks near her old home that she shared with her ex-husband, Tom. She calls this couple "Jess and Jason" and she thinks they are absolutely perfect. The irony is not lost on her that Tom lives a few houses down with his new wife, Anna, and their new baby. She isn't over her ex-husband and finds solace in alcohol. Her drinking has cost her more than her marriage though. It has even cost her her job, so now she rides the train to London everyday to keep up appearances and to get her roommate off her back. One day on the commute into London, she sees Jess with another man. This sparks Rachel's interest, because how could this infidelity happen? They seemed perfect together, or so she thought. Then she finds out "Jess" or Megan Hipwell, has gone missing. Rachel takes it upon herself to report what she saw to the police, but then things sort of get out of hand when Rachel remembers in a drunken haze that she was on Megan's street the night that she disappeared. To complicate things even more, she had a run in with Tom and Anna that night as well. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is an edge-of-your-seat debut that fans of Gone Girl will love. There are many twists and turns, unreliable narrators and a serious of who-done-it moments that will keep readers guessing.
Emmy and Oliver have been best friends for as long as Emmy can remember. They were next door neighbors, playmates, and pals at school, that is until oEmmy and Oliver have been best friends for as long as Emmy can remember. They were next door neighbors, playmates, and pals at school, that is until one day Oliver is kidnapped by his father at age seven and taken away from everything and everyone he knows. Emmy is sort of left with this hole in her heart as well as a physical hole left by his absence. Things move on though, but Emmy does think about Oliver from time to time. Where is he? What does he look like? He shows up ten years later; the police found him in New York City with his father. He is returning home finally, but how will things be between Emmy and her former best friend? Robin Benway's snappy dialogue and beautiful setting of a beach town make Emmy & Oliver a delightful summertime read.
The Silver family lives a very posh life in Los Angeles, but their world is turned upside down when their parents' work schedule forces them to spendThe Silver family lives a very posh life in Los Angeles, but their world is turned upside down when their parents' work schedule forces them to spend three weeks at their Aunt Sunny's in Pruet, Massachusetts. The timing isn't good for the eldest Silver sister, Marigold, because those years of acting classes have finally paid off. She just landed an agent and hopes to fulfill her dream of auditioning for the latest teen movie. Zinnia, the middle sister, lives in her sister's shadow and just wants Marigold to notice her, and the littlest Silver sister, Lily, simply doesn't want to leave her nanny behind. But their time spent in Massachusetts, although initially challenging, will prove to be beneficial for all the girls. It's an idyllic beach town filled with clam bakes, gorgeous days at the beach, and no cell phone coverage. By the time their three week visit is over, all three girls will have blossomed beautifully. Leila Howland's The Forget-Me-Not Summer is an adorable beach read for middle grade students. I wish I could have read this when I was a tween; I would have feel in love with it instantly.
Every year Kelsey and her family spend their summer vacation in Newport, Rhode Island. The summer before her freshman year of high school, she meets,Every year Kelsey and her family spend their summer vacation in Newport, Rhode Island. The summer before her freshman year of high school, she meets, in an unexpected way, her next door neighbor, David. They hit it off instantly and their summer friendship becomes a full-time friendship when David and his dad move to Norwood, Connecticut, where Kelsey and her family live. Everything was great between them until something happened to Kelsey, which resulted in her being bullied at school. To further complicate matters, both David and Kelsey start to have feelings for each other, but the timing wasn't right. After a traumatic freshman year, Kelsey's father has a job opportunity in Newport, so they decide to move there. Kelsey is actually happy about it, because this is a chance for her to move past things and sort of reinvent herself. It's senior year now and Kelsey is a popular girl, with many friends, a good looking boyfriend, a new haircut and a new outlook on life; however, her world starts to crumble when she sees David walk through the doors of her high school. Now Kelsey's past secrets collide with her new life in Rhode Island and obviously, Kelsey has some important decisions to make. Gina Ciocca's debut, Last Year's Mistake, is filled with angst, teenage drama and romance, which make it a fun book for vacation this summer.
Dara and Nick are two sisters that couldn't be more different. Things change for them when both girls are involved in a car accident leaving beautifulDara and Nick are two sisters that couldn't be more different. Things change for them when both girls are involved in a car accident leaving beautiful Dara scarred. Nick has always been the sensible sister and Dara has always been the kind of girl who throws caution to the wind and even though both girls are very different, they are sisters and can never escape that. Nick tries to smooth things over with Dara, but she has distanced herself since the accident. Things get serious when Dara ends up missing (is she just playing a prank on Nick?) and to top it off, a nine year old girl in the neighborhood goes missing as well. Lauren Oliver's Vanishing Girls is a well-written and entertaining psychological thriller. I loved how the story was told, but in the end, it felt too familiar for me to completely fall in love with it.
If you read Throne of Glass, you know that Celaena has been named the King's Champion, which pretty much means she is his personal assassin. He has asIf you read Throne of Glass, you know that Celaena has been named the King's Champion, which pretty much means she is his personal assassin. He has assigned her a few new "jobs," but Celaena, in true Celaena fashion, is making her own rules as she appears to be playing by the corrupt king's rules. She knows that if the king finds out what is going on behind the scenes, he will probably kill her along with her friends, but how can she just kill these people on the king's whim? The next person on her "list" is Archer Finn, Celaena's old friend. This lends it self to some particularly sticky situations. Meanwhile, Nehemia has some epic plans in the work and Dorian, the Prince, is also is harboring some secrets that could change the future. Lastly, there's Chaol, Captain of the Guard, and his relationship with Celaena is even more complex in this novel as they still have a strong connection with one another. Many characters with secrets threaten to destroy everything for Celaena even as she finds out the truth about the king and his new found power. Crown of Midnight, the second installment in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, is a fantasy lover's dream come true. There's high fantasy aspects to the story, lots of adventure, romance, magic, and more importantly, an intrepid female heroine.
Serena is the daughter of a California senator and is quite accomplished in her own right. She is a features editor for Vogue magazine. Her life seemsSerena is the daughter of a California senator and is quite accomplished in her own right. She is a features editor for Vogue magazine. Her life seems like rainbows and sunshine, especially when her boyfriend, Chase, asks her to marry him. And to top it off, things are going well for her at work. She has been offered the assignment of interviewing the former French Vogue editor, Yvette Renault, while she is staying in Cannes. Things start going downhill from there though. She arrives in Cannes at the posh hotel to find out her reservation is missing and there are no available rooms. Thankfully, she meets Zoe who lives in a fancy suite with rooms to spare. Zoe tells Serena to stay with her and in return, Zoe hopes that Serena will teach her to be chic and a thing or two about fashion. While starting her work in Cannes, Serena gets the news from her fiancé that her father's indiscretions are being covered in the newspapers back home. Obviously this sends Serena on a tailspin as many of her family's secrets are being uncovered publicly and to top it off, Chase isn't too happy with the latest revelation as it may hurt his aspiring political career. As Serena interviews Yvette about the ups and downs of her life, she can make connections to her own and undoubltly, Serena realizes that there are some changes she needs to make. French Coast by Anita Hughes is an indulgent summertime read and perfect for vacation. It's light, it's sexy, and fans of fashion will absolutely love all the descriptions of the fabulous clothes.
Sisters Ally and Sydney don't have much in common; in fact, they are opposites in every way except when it comes to their new neighbor, Graham CopelanSisters Ally and Sydney don't have much in common; in fact, they are opposites in every way except when it comes to their new neighbor, Graham Copeland. They are both interested in him, but for different reasons. Ally has a crush on Graham and wants to get to know him better, but Sydney doesn't like the bad vibe she gets from him. She doesn't trust him, but is also intrigued by him as well. Graham is hiding many secrets and is hoping to start fresh in this new town. He also is obsessed with his video camera and claims he wants to be a filmmaker as he constantly is filming the people and the world around him. Things aren't what they seem with either teenager in this psychological thriller. Norah Olson's debut, Twisted Fate, is a suspenseful novel that did keep me entertained, but ultimately left me wanting more.
Year in the Life of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes is every Downton Abbey fan's dream come true. Not only are there gorgeous photographs throughou Year in the Life of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes is every Downton Abbey fan's dream come true. Not only are there gorgeous photographs throughout the book, there's also fun facts about the show as well as what life was like during the time period. And did I mention there are fantastic recipes? What is so unique about this book is the fact that it focuses on each month of the year and details what life would be like at Downton during a particular month.