Okay, I admit it, I picked up another quick “summer read” over Labor Day weekend….nothing too taxing for my brain. I found All the SingFrom Katherine:
Okay, I admit it, I picked up another quick “summer read” over Labor Day weekend….nothing too taxing for my brain. I found All the Single Ladies on the adult New Book shelves and the cover image of the red and white life saver on a sea blue background caught my eye. I’ve read a couple of Frank’s other books and really enjoyed them, so I thought I’d indulge in one more chick lit title. Because I’ve been to the South Carolina low country and walked the beaches, I can easily picture the setting in my mind. The characters are also interesting, funny, and somewhat eccentric. The story is about three middle-aged women who form a bond after a friend dies of cancer. Lisa St. Clair is a caring nurse who struggles financially, is lonely socially, and worries about her grown daughter’s marijuana business venture in Colorado. She lovingly takes special care of her patient, Kathy Harper, and after she dies, Lisa becomes good friends with the two girlfriends always by Kathy’s bedside. Carrie is one sassy beautiful woman always flirting and looking for a new husband. Suzanne has inherited Kathy’s possessions and a mystery is involved as the three try and discover more about Kathy’s past. Supporting characters include the elderly, indomitable Miss Trudie and whose beach house where Suzanne lives provides a temporary home for Lisa who is booted out of her apartment by a greedy property owner. This ninety-nine year old lady is a hoot and dearly loved by her granddaughter, Suzanne. Lisa’s surprising new love interest, Paul, is a wonderful guy who gives Lisa a better perspective on dealing with her daughter, Marianne. And Harry is the director of the senior care facility where Lisa works. The lives of the characters intersect and the reader is left pondering friendship, marriage, loss of a child, and aging, just as the women in the novel are struggling with the same issues. This novel was an easy read that went down smoothly like a good mint julep enjoyed outside on the porch....more
I first read on On the Beach (1957) by Nevil Shute when I was a teenager. It was still the Cold War and as a fan of Tom Clancy, I thought “AFrom Mimi:
I first read on On the Beach (1957) by Nevil Shute when I was a teenager. It was still the Cold War and as a fan of Tom Clancy, I thought “Aha! Here’s what happens if Jack Ryan does not save the day.” After World War III, the radioactive fallout has not yet reached Australia but it’s on the way. The survivors know they only have months to live and act accordingly. I highly recommend this book as own it and have read it multiple times since then....more
This is a short story of revenge mixed with wine – one that rarely ends well. It’s told from the viewpoint of the “villain” who is specificFrom Mimi:
This is a short story of revenge mixed with wine – one that rarely ends well. It’s told from the viewpoint of the “villain” who is specific with many details except for a definitive reason for his grievance. The ending is not nice but what really gives me the chills are the false displays of friendship....more
OK … I’m ready to forgive C.J. Box. I thoroughly enjoy his Joe Pickett series and enjoyed Back of Beyond, the beginning of a new series featuring whoOK … I’m ready to forgive C.J. Box. I thoroughly enjoy his Joe Pickett series and enjoyed Back of Beyond, the beginning of a new series featuring who I thought was a recurring character, Sheriff Detective Cody Hoyt. In Box’s next Cody Hoyt book, The Highway, (awesome book, set in Yellowstone, scared the bejeebers out of me) Hoyt is conquering his demons and mentoring a new Sheriff’s Detective, Cassie Dewell. But something goes wrong and suddenly readers are left hanging.
I was mad at C.J. Box after that book. I loved Cody Hoyt and I didn’t like how the book ended. For me, C.J. Box has redeemed himself in his new book, The Badlands. Cassie Dewell emerges as a strong protagonist who can hold her own. I guess maybe Box had to give her a chance and needed a couple good novels to write his way there. Time for me to move on …
In The Badlands, Detective Cassie Dewell takes a new job in Grimstad, the petroleum capitol of North Dakota. Life is tough there. The economy is booming but crime follows money and Cassie is tasked by the Sheriff to do some internal investigating. She is also haunted by her past and the criminal who got away and is still lurking “out there.” She’s also drawn to a young boy who may be invisible, but knows a lot more than the world is willing to acknowledge. The book is fast paced, the characters are great, and readers are left wanting more from this new protagonist. I think we have a lot to look forward to from C.J. Box and his Joe Pickett and Cassie Dewell series!...more
Summer reading for me tends to be less worthy of book group discussions and more about just being lost in a good story that doesn’t tax my brain. TheSummer reading for me tends to be less worthy of book group discussions and more about just being lost in a good story that doesn’t tax my brain. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand was a light fun read set on Nantucket that satisfied my curiosity about the title and cover of the book.
Definitely chick lit, where gossip is paramount, best friends Madeline and Grace are the envy of the island with their perfect husbands and children. But rumor has it that Grace has been having an affair with her gorgeous landscape architect, Benton; that her husband, “Fast Eddie” Pancik is in over his head with a new real estate development; that Grace’s daughter, Allegra, and Madeline’s son, Brick, are not the storybook young couple everyone thinks they are; and that Madeline is struggling with writer’s block and isn’t meeting her editor’s deadlines.
These story lines are explored along with the relationship between twin sisters, Allegra and Hope. Rumors and realities converge when Madeline starts writing a novel based on what’s happening to the people on the island. Things escalate and the denouement isn’t a perfect ending for the lives involved. Strong female friendship wins out in the end and what would a good summer read be without a little sex to spice things up?
Too bad I’ll be missing my Book Group’s August selection, H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald, when I’m vacationing with my family in Estes Park for ten days. Now what shall I take with me to read? Hmmm…....more
Rachel Cusks’ most recent work, Outline, follows an English author’s time in Athens teaching a creative writing class. The novel is broken up into tenRachel Cusks’ most recent work, Outline, follows an English author’s time in Athens teaching a creative writing class. The novel is broken up into ten chapters, each centering on a different conversation the main character has with her friends, her students, and the people she meets during her time there. The main character herself is somewhat anonymous to the reader, rarely discusses herself directly, but things about herself and her life are revealed in these exchanges. You don’t get the normal narration of what the character thinks and feels except in relation to who she meets. You get an “outline.” If you like deep character studies and self-reflective narration, or even a complicated and evolving plot, then this isn’t your book. This is very much not your book. However, I found Outline palette-cleansing. The conversations are thoughtful and well-conceived and there are some interesting stories related to our narrator that will keep you on your toes. In one chapter, her writing class goes around the room and tells a story that involves an animal and one such story is riveting (I’m not going into detail here because it was one of the most surprising and heartbreaking segments of the book). If you are looking for a quick, yet literary and provocative read, then I recommend you check out Outline....more
Grady Hendrix’s book is a fast, very funny read. HORRORSTÖR, takes place at ORSK: THE BETTER HOME FOR THE EVERYONE, an IKEA wannabe. The book is cleveGrady Hendrix’s book is a fast, very funny read. HORRORSTÖR, takes place at ORSK: THE BETTER HOME FOR THE EVERYONE, an IKEA wannabe. The book is cleverly designed with each chapter, at least initially, showcasing a named piece of furniture. The first, the BROOKA, is a very Scandinavian-like sofa, with clean lines and a description that screams IKEA. “A sofa that’s everything you ever dreamed a sofa could be. With memory-foam cushions and a high back that delivers the support your neck deserves, BROOKA is relaxing beginning to the end of your day.”. Something has gone amiss at ORSK, greatly amiss. Every morning staff arrives to find furniture broken, glassware shattered and worse. Three employees agree to work an overnight shift to try to discover what is happening during the nighttime hours. As the night progresses, the pieces of furniture prefacing each chapter change. We move from the sofa to bookshelves, to a dining room table to instruments of torture. As the story unfolds we learn that this suburban Ohio ORSK store was built on the site of a prison, a prison of unspeakable horror. While not the scariest of stories, HORROSTÖR, more than makes up for that weakness in the sleek design and packaging of the book. Both fans and those who are not so keen on the IKEA experience will find HORRORSTÖR very entertaining....more
A Little Something Different is the story of how two college students, Lea and Gabe, fall in love — only they don’t tell the story. Instead, everyoneA Little Something Different is the story of how two college students, Lea and Gabe, fall in love — only they don’t tell the story. Instead, everyone around them tells it, from Lea’s roommate and Gabe’s older brother, to their creative writing instructor and the cynical Starbucks barista. Even a campus squirrel has insights to offer. He may not be able to communicate with Lea and Gabe, but he loves that they share their food with him. This is not a deep read. This book probably won’t change your life, though it might inspire you to give a squirrel a piece of your bagel....more
How could I, or anyone for that matter, resist a book involving a cannibalistic librarian? Murakami’s fiction frequently falls into the genre of MagicaHow could I, or anyone for that matter, resist a book involving a cannibalistic librarian? Murakami’s fiction frequently falls into the genre of Magical Realism. A lot of odd things happen in his books. Most of the time the bizarreness of the situations are not really addressed. We never find out exactly why these supernatural and surreal events are happening. If not having all of the answers bothers you then his books might be frustrating for you. I like the lack of explanation. This is the world where the events take place and there is no need to explain it all. ...more
Straub’s Vacationers is a vicarious trip out of the cold Iowa winter. Frannie and Jim decide to vacation in Majorca, Spain with their grown-up childreStraub’s Vacationers is a vicarious trip out of the cold Iowa winter. Frannie and Jim decide to vacation in Majorca, Spain with their grown-up children and Frannie’s best friend, Charles, and his husband. For each character Majorca represents a turning point of either falling back into the ruts of life or moving forward and finding new potential. Emma Straub’s writing is clean and crisp. The books is funny, warm and realistic. Straub creates characters who are real and struggle with insecurities and secrets while ultimately triumphing over what life throws at them. I listened to the book and Kristen Sieh’s narration is perfect. As I look out my window I see it is snowing again. If you need a vicarious escape to Spain check out Emma Straub’s Vacationers....more
The focus of Some Luck, the first of a trilogy, is the Langdon family; their farm, their kin and their lives for the next 33 years. And what a 33 yearThe focus of Some Luck, the first of a trilogy, is the Langdon family; their farm, their kin and their lives for the next 33 years. And what a 33 years it is. The book begins with Walter and Rosanna and their five month old son, Frank. The novel explores their life on the farm outside the small town of Denby. It was a rural Iowa that many of us grew up hearing about from our parents and grandparents, a time when fields were plowed with draft horses, and hired men lived with the family, schools were one room and the students were the children of the nearby families. The pace of life had a rhythm and pattern. But change comes and Smiley illuminates the change chapter by chapter, with each each chapter covering a year in the Langdon family. If you have been waiting for another novel from this Pulitzer Prize winning novelist you will be thrilled to read Some Luck. And as luck would have it, there are two more books to follow....more