I always want to enjoy literary fiction, such as The Swans of Fifth Avenue, but I have such a hard time getting into them. It takes time to get lost in the world of Babe Paley and Truman Capote, so if you can't sit down and devote some time with this book, be prepared. I found myself enjoying the book more when I could read it for more than fifteen minutes at a time. Having said that, I love books that fictionalize true events, such Truman Capote in Manhattan. He was such a unique character, er I mean person. He was able to captivate anybody who came into contact with him, both male and female. The Swans of Fifth Avenue is primarily set in the time around when In Cold Blood was published and I hate to admit that I have not read it. But now I am more intrigued than ever. I was even a bit heartbroken myself, the way things turned out. ...more
Uganda Be Kidding Me is full of raunchy humor that would likely make your mother blush, but that is the exact reason why you should be reading it. There were several times where I found myself laughing so hard that my sides hurt. That kind of laughter can't be bad, right?...more
Little Mercies is a thought provoking novel about survival, priorities, and the sacrifices we make in life. The characters are written so well it feels like you could reach out and hug them. There is a readers guide included in the book, so be sure to put Little Mercies on the list for your next book club selection. You won't go wrong. I promise....more
I admit it, my whole perspective of The Invention of Wings changed once I read the "Author's Note" at the end and I realized that Sarah Grimke was a real woman. I enjoyed the story of Sarah and Hetty, but I didn't think it was "great". Once I read that "Author's Note" I thought "wow." To know that Sarah was a real woman with real convictions and a true pioneer in the abolition movement, well it is inspriring. Knowing her feelings about slavery, it is not out of the realm of possibility that she had a friend like Hetty and I think the author kept that friendship as authentic as possible....more
One of the things I love about Jill Mansell novels is all of the subplots that are going on in the background. They truly paint a whole picture of the main characters and those that surround them in the story. In Don't Want to Miss A Thing we get to know several of the villagers. Frankie, Lois, Joe, and Stephen to just name a few. They all have secrets, desires, and dreams. The way they connect with each other and Dex and Molly really make this novel so charming. There are so many different stories I could tell about the residents of Briarwood, but I won't. Just know that they all could stand alone as the stars in their own stories.
Bottom line, I have been enjoying Jill Mansell novels for many years and I always look forward to her next book. They are fresh and funny and heartwarming and always so full of charm. If you are looking for a little "feel good" type of novel then you must pick up Don't Want to Miss A Thing...more
The Theory of Opposites was laugh out loud funny in so many parts, but I also found my eyes leaking a few times, too. Willa handed the first few daysThe Theory of Opposites was laugh out loud funny in so many parts, but I also found my eyes leaking a few times, too. Willa handed the first few days of the "break" much, much better than I would have done. I would have definitely lost my shit. A married man wants a "break" and writes out a list of "rules" for the break that includes sleeping with other people? I DON'T THINK SO! I really liked Willa and ultimately I just wanted her to be happy, so I wavered between wanting her to end up with Shawn or Theo. In the end, I was pleased with the way it ended, but it did shock me the way it came about and truly was surprised with her decision. I must also comment on the utter train-wreck that is Willa's family, starting with her parents who were on their own "break" and the way they announced their "break" really gave me the first clue that her family was nuts. And nuts in a way that makes your family look normal. Did I mention that Willa has a yoga guru brother who is indicted because of a pyramid scheme? Nuts I tell you. It is no wonder that Willa clings to the routine of her marriage. ...more
Morning Glory is a beautiful novel that just renewed the longing I had in the nineties to go live on a house boat. The story is told in both present and past tense. And whether it be Ada's story or Penny's the character and charm surrounding Boat Street remains the same. The one thing that was consistent with both Penny and Ada were their sense of sadness. In a way they both suffered losses, Ada losing her family the way she did and Penny losing her youth to a bad marriage. The sense of longing in both of them is almost palpable. The difference between the two women though is noticeable with Ada. You can see the diminishing of her sadness as the book progresses and that is mostly due to Alex. There is a bit of a twist at the end of the book that I kind of guessed was coming, but it really did bring a necessary conclusion to the story.
Bottom line, Morning Glory is a wonderful little novel that takes you to another place and another time. The story will tug at your heart strings as you find yourself being swept away with Ada and Penny's heartache. If you are looking for something quick and lovely to read you will not be disappointed by Morning Glory, that I promise you....more
Adulting: How to Become A Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps is a comprehensive, "how-to" manual for anyone that is new to adulthood or just needs to grow up! There are fun, detailed, easy to read pieces of advice for anyone who is in the need of acting like an adult. Advice on everything from keeping house (dishes and cleaning schedules) to vehicle maintenance (really, you should name your car!), office ethics, making friends in your new neighborhoods and so much more. There are even helpful hints as to how to assert yourself both at the office and in your private life. Oh and wise financial advice such as savings accounts and investing. As a thirty-eight year old, a lot of the information shared wasn't really new to me, but I still found myself riveted and eager to continue reading. And I can really see how it would be very useful to recent college graduates and even others just venturing out on their own for the first time. Or even the second time....more
The Whole Golden World is a riveting look at a topic that is becoming all too common in the headlines these days. Here is Morgan, a child determined tThe Whole Golden World is a riveting look at a topic that is becoming all too common in the headlines these days. Here is Morgan, a child determined to be treated like an adult, but finds herself drowning when adult situations invade her life. She tries so hard to be mature and appear mature, but when things get tough all she wants to do is curl into a ball and ignore the whole world. The dynamics between Morgan and her mother often reminded me of my relationship with my own mother when I was seventeen. That age where Mom wants to keep you a kid, but daughter wants to be treated like a grown-up. It is a tough place to be for both women. Then there is Rain, Mr. Hill's wife. This poor woman is battling infertility, which is pretty devastating in it's own right and then there is the accusations against her husband. At first her loyalty was admirable, but then even I wanted to shake her and say "wake up, woman!" From the perspective of all the main characters, the end of the book was very satisfying for me to read. It wasn't an easy conclusion, but it was satisfying.
Once Upon A Lie was one of those books that I just could not put down. I can very easily say that it was one of the better books I have recently read. The characters are so well written and multi-dimensional it was very easy to connect with them. I loved Maeve and the way she tried to stay on top of everything from her wayward father to her sneaky daughter. I found myself laughing when she busted her daughter at the party and how she did so. Her friend and employee, Jo is another character who really added some depth, and often comic relief, to the story. She has had such a horrible time recently that when Maeve tells her story, you can see how much love she has for her friend. Then there is Maeve's relationship with her ex, Cal. It is unique because while Cal destroyed their marriage by having an affair with her friend, he still has a fondness for Maeve that shows itself by his kisses on her forehead, stopping by her shop, and many other ways. It was just another facet of the book that kept you interested and hooked...more
Ten Tiny Breaths is a bit predictable it is still a book worth reading. The characters are multi-layered and interesting characters to get to know. This book is considered a YA novel, but I caution parents of younger teens that some of the the scenes are not appropriate for younger readers, at least in my house. Maybe read it for yourself first and let me know what you think! ...more
Bottom line, psychological thrillers are one of my favorite genre to read, but The Never List is one that is going to stick with me for a while. The terror those women faced was so well written that it became my terror. It takes a certain (twisted?) kind of person to enjoy psychological thrillers of this magnitude, so read with caution....more
Bottom line, if you are looking for a fun and fluffy ready, you have GOT to grab a Kristan Higgins book. I know I have told you before, so I am curious, have any of you read a Kristan Higgins novel yet?...more
Hush Little Baby has all of the makings of a being a great book club selection. There is even a wonderful reader's guide at the end of the book to guide discussion. While some of the subject matter may be tough to read, Hush Little Baby is a great read that will engage you from the very first page. Looking for a great read? Grab Hush Little Baby and get ready for one heck of a ride....more
Covet is a novel about a marriage on the rocks. Thousands of women all over the country are in marriages that are running on auto-pilot and that is exactly what Claire and Chris have in their marriage. When Chris lost his job they spent all of their energy to hold on financially that they lost their intimacy, their connection, their strength. Getting that back is critical to Claire's happiness, but it does not seem to be for Chris. While I do think that Covet lacks the intensity that was portrayed in On the Island, it was a great novel to read. I loved how the author included the other wives in Claire's neighborhood. Although all of them appeared to be living charmed lives, each one of them have struggles. From an alcohol abuse problem to infertility and gambling issues, it was good to see that Claire wasn't the only one with struggles.
Bottom line, Covet is a novel about the ebbs and flows of marriage. The ups, the downs, the pendulum that swings one way or the other. The mark of a successful marriage is how a couple works through those ebb and flows. I think that this novel will strike a chord with women of all ages and walks of life. Life is not perfect and neither is marriage, and Covet makes that fact abundantly clear. Give it a read and let me know what you think. ...more
Leaving Haven is a really good novel. I found myself sucked into the dynamics of the various friendships. I enjoyed reading about the deep friendship between Georgia and Alice, the ease with which their friends ebbs and flows, it was genuine and real. Well until it wasn't. What happened (being careful with spoilers) really touched me and the author did a really good job conveying Georgia's emotions. I also found myself getting really ticked off at a certain male figure in the novel. He was so selfish and so thoughtless, yet he was still loved by those who shouldn't love him anymore. I don't get it....more
Having been in the workforce and business world for almost twenty years I thought I was pretty up to date on all of the proper business etiquette, but it was nice to brush up on my skills and learn some of the new etiquette surrounding social media and technology in the workforce. The author did a great job of including pop culture references and real life scenarios to demonstrate what is and is not appropriate in the work place. It really added life to what could be considered to be a dull topic. Those scenarios really helped the book flow along nicely and enjoyable to read.
Bottom line, I know that many of us view etiquette, even business etiquette, as "common sense" to many others it is not inherently known and a book like this is definitely needed. The Essentials of Business Etiquette is a must read for every college graduate about to enter the workforce or even someone who is switching professions mid-career. Implementing the rules of proper etiquette in the business world is sure to make one stand out to a potential employer. Definitely worth the read. ...more
Forever, Interrupted is one of those novels that packs quite a punch and leaves an unexpected emotional impact on the reader. The story flashes back and forth from the "before" months when Ben and Elsie were together and the "after" months following his death. I loved how the author weaved books and the library into the plot, it really connected me to Ben and Elsie. I also found myself connecting to Elsie and her disbelief that she was married and that he was really gone. I remember in the days and weeks after I got married it just didn't seem real, so I could really relate to Elsie in that aspect. As the months after Ben's death go by, the relationship between Elsie and Susan was an unique one. It really added to the emotional punch the book had on me.
Bottom line, I will be really surprised if Forever, Interrupted doesn't get optioned by someone in Hollywood. The story is unique and touching. In my head I was already casting the roles, Meryl Streep would make a perfect "Susan". If you are looking for something to touch your heart, find a copy of Forever, Interrupted. Like right now. Go....more
The Girl You Left Behind is a hauntingly beautiful novel that will break your heart. After the initial introduction to both women, the novel flashes back and forth between the past and the present. The details of Sophie's detainment was utterly heartbreaking. Even knowing what was likely going to be the outcome, I kept hoping that there would be a "happy ever after" for Sophie and Edouard. And so was the heartbreak that belonged to Liv. It was so clear that her life was destroyed by the loss of her husband and just when she thought she was making progress in her grief by being with Paul things blow up regarding the painting. My heart just ached for Liv, I felt so horrible for her and her loss was almost contagious to me as the reader.
Bottom line, JoJo Moyes has a way of writing such beautiful works of literature. Her characters and their feelings are so vivid that it is easy to be swept away to another place and in this novel, another time. If you are looking for a novel to touch your heart,(and really who isn't?) then you must read The Girl You Left Behind. ...more
Bottom line, if you are looking for a literary masterpiece, then you need to put this book down and pick up Night Film. If you are looking for fluff and keep your expectations low (or non-existant ) then The First Affair might be the right book for you....more
Do you want a book club book that will generate hot conversation, then you have found your book. For a very long time in the state of North Carolina, the Department of Welfare used forced sterilization in order to control poverty. Diane Chamberlain has taken this dark time in history and woven a gripping tale of two young women from opposite sides of the tracks who are both struggling to survive in this world. Jane is such a naive character and to see her deal with such a heavy topic was great to see, especially when she knew her new husband disapproved. i was very pleased with the character development in all of the characters, but especially with Jane. I was almost proud of her by the end of the novel, if you can believe that. My emotions were all over the place with this novel, I started out being appalled and went through a whole range of emotions, including anger and hatred. I guess an argument (insert heated debate here) could be made that this form of eugenics would save the government a lot of money, but when the women are not even told what is happening to them, well it was absolutely horrifying.
Bottom line, I have gushed endlessly about Diane Chamberlain for years now and with good reason. Her writing is so gripping that her books are the kind of books that stay with you long after the last page. I can easily say, though, that I think Necessary Lies is one of her best books. Like I mentioned earlier, the perfect book for a book club, guaranteed to generate a lively discussion...more
Last spring I went on a Life As We Knew It binge and read the first three books in just a few days, ever since I have been anxiously awaiting the fourth book. It was unique to see that the book was from Jon's perspective, but I was completely disheartened to see that he had been sucked into the snobbery that is prevalent in Sexton. There were many, many times that I was almost disgusted with not only Sexton, but Jon as well. There was an event (don't want to give away too much) that finally shook Jon out of his comfort zone and he started to realize that the way things were wasn't right. I will say that it was nice to "see" familiar characters and see how they were doing in their "new normal". It also challenged me to think about what I would do in that kind of scenario. Oh, and the author definitely left it open for another book and I sure hope that she follows through, I love these books!
Bottom line, loyal fans of the Life As We Knew It will not be disappointed with the fourth book in the series. You may get a bit discouraged at first with what is happening in Sexton & White Birch, but you must stick with it until the end. I promise, you will not be disappointed!...more
Cathy Lamb has become a very successful author because of her ability to create such unique and quirky characters. If you Could See What I See is no different. Meggie, herself, is not that quirky, but she is the most damaged of all the O'Rourke girls. Her marriage cost her a lot, and through out the book the author flashes back to the darkest times of Meggie's marriage. The handsome Chief of Police, Ben, that lives across the street has expressed his interest in Meggie, but she is afraid to pollute him with her damage. Meggie's spitfire of a Grandma is a fun character to watch in action, not to mention Meggie's own mother, Brianna, a world renowned sex therapist that is known for her creative methods. She loves her daughters tremendously, but is glad that they are taking over the family company and not her. Throw into the mix a nephew who believes he should have been a girl, another nephew who is single handily trying to save the pet population in Oregon, and a niece who has had more sex in the last month than Meggie has had in years. They all add a special something to the story, but I think my favorite thing about this book was the way Meggie and her sisters put together the "Fashion Story". Instead of doing a regular Fashion Show, they enlisted the help of all their staff and put together a "Fashion Story" that was unique, clever, and tugged at my heartstrings.
Bottom line, Cathy Lamb, is a talented author who has a way of creating characters that find a way into your heart. If You Could See What I See is a heartwarming story of the healing power of love and family. If you are looking for something good to read that will tug on those heartstrings, Cathy Lamb's newest novel will not disappoint....more
The Book of Secrets is a love letter to some of the greatest literature of our time. Not only are books such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Robinson Crusoe and Romeo & Juliet mentioned, but the Gothic tone of the book is very similar to what you might find in Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, with a secret message like what you might find in a Dan Brown novel. Chloe and Nate are very flawed characters, but they have so much shared history and a deep love that they are counting on to see them through to the end. And the mystery of what happened all those years ago will keep you guessing all the way to the end.
Bottom line, from the very first page I got swept up into the story. I loved the way the author takes us into Chloe and Nate's world. I was transported to another time and place and it felt good. The way the author pays homage to some of the greatest literature made my heart smile. If you are looking for a good book to cleanse the palate after some fluffy beach reads, then you must pick up The Book of Secrets. You will thank me, I promise....more