I am one of the biggest Kristin Hannah fans out there. I loved Firefly Lane just like many of you did. But, having said that, Fly Away, just wasn't one of my favorite books. After the death of a loved one it is not unusual for a family to struggle, to fight depression and struggle to find normalcy. Fly Away is a novel about those struggles. It is heartbreaking and dark and scary and Kristin Hannah did a great job at addressing all of those themes, but it was still really hard to read all of that darkness. As a reader, I have such fond memories of Kate and Tully, and their friendship. For Tully to just spiral out of control, well, it is heartbreaking. The other thing that seemed a bit off, was that the author goes at great length to discuss Tully, and Marah, and Johnny, and even a little bit of Kate's parents are mentioned, but there is very little mention of how the twins are coping. I would have liked to read more about the twins. ...more
If you are reading this review, then you probably have (or have had) a favorite bookstore. A place where you walk in and are recognized by somebody. A place where you can go and escape in the stacks, among the sounds and smells that are associated with any bookstore, no matter what the size or the name on the door. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap will take you back to that place, to those feelings you have when you walk through the door. Trust me, it is a fun journey you won't regret taking!...more
I jumped at the chance to read Invisible. While it didn't suck me in as quickly as I had expected, I really did enjoy the story. I enjoyed watching Dana get to know Peyton. And you know what - there is a twist there that I haven't even mentioned, the reason why Dana left Black Bear all those years ago and never returned. It adds even more of a dramatic flair to the story. While it hasn't been eighteen years since I was "home", I only get back once or twice a year, having just been there I could totally relate to Dana's feelings driving down the streets after all these years. The more things change the more they stay the same...
Bottom line, Invisible is a great dramatic read with a great environmental message. There are layers to this story that get peeled away with every page you turn. ...more
Bottom line, as far as memoirs go, Becoming Sister Wives is not the most literary one that you will find on the market, but it is written from the heaBottom line, as far as memoirs go, Becoming Sister Wives is not the most literary one that you will find on the market, but it is written from the heart and that goes a long way in my book. If you are a fan of the show or have a curiosity in the Polygamous lifestyle then you should pick up this book, it is a quick, but engrossing read.
I have been a fan of Cathy Kelly for many years. Her Irish Fiction has transports me to the "home" that I have never seen. Her latest work, Christmas Magic, is a compilation of short stories that will seem warm, familiar and likely to touch your heart. From office Christmas parties to neighborhood mailmen (postmen) to familial issues that always pop up around the holidays this collection holds something for everyone.
Bottom line, if you are looking to supplement all of the Christmas movies that pop up this time of year, then you must pick up Christmas Magic. The writing is so engaging and the characters so well written you find yourself thinking about them even after you have moved onto the next story. With character such as Millie, Stevie, and Frankie you are sure to find yourself flying through the pages!...more
The Middlesteins is told from all different angles in all different periods of Edie's life and at the start of each chapter from Edie's perspective is her weight at that moment in time. (nice, huh?) But the underlying theme in each chapter is Edie's weight. And while her family would LIKE you to believe that they are concerned about Edie's weight because of her health, the feeling I got was that they were concerned for more selfish reasons. Like being embarrassed by her size. It was especially interesting to me to see all of the reactions when she brought a date to the big party. In fact it even made me mad on her behalf that they were so shocked that she actually had a date.
Bottom line, The Middlesteins is not just another ordinary book about family dynamics. Well it is, but when you factor in Edie's weight and all of the family's perceptions (and realities) that go with it, you have a pretty exceptional book. Let me know what you think!...more
After consists of nineteen stories by some of your favorite YA authors like Garth Nix, Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Gregory Maguire to name a few. The stories range in varying degrees of terrifying. Like teens who live in a world where everyone carries a gun to school. Teens who are on a spaceship, and another story features a crucial game of baseball played with the Creepies are just a few examples of what imaginative stories you will find in this book.
You all know that I have really gotten hooked on apocalyptic novels. So I jumped at the chance to read this anthology. While most of the stories were great, there were a few that I felt needed more than just a few pages to develop the characters and the story. It is hard to really get the whole story out of a short story, if you know what I mean.
Bottom line, if you are a fan of dystopian novels, then obviously you are going to want to give this one a read! ...more
Heads in Beds is one of those "behind the scenes" books written by a guy who ultimately just wants to do his job and make money. There is a lot of poking fun at guests and a lot of swearing. And like in any service industry there is a lot of drinking and even a few references at drug use. His stories were similar to stories I have heard from my sister and brother-in-law. The similarities also continue with the "family like" atmosphere among the staff. Working in the Hotel/Motel industry can be very, very grueling and not for the faint of heart. That is definitely translated well in this book. And maybe it will cause you to be just a little more understanding and friendly the next time you check into a hotel.
Bottom line, if you like to read "behind the scenes" industry books, then you will enjoy Heads in Beds. But I will give the disclaimer that if you are offended easily or are a frequent traveler you may find yourself offended at the language and may even be offended to "see" yourself in some of the descriptions. I think that if you have anyone in your family who has worked in the Hotel/Motel industry, then Heads in Beds will make the perfect Christmas gift! ...more
The Shortest Way Home was a really sweet, tender family novel. It is rare for a Women's Fiction book to be told from a male viewpoint, but Juliette Fay has done just that. Sean is a good guy who was, first, glad to be home around the familiarity of his past, but then realized just how badly Kevin needed a father figure and how badly Aunt Vivian needed a caretaker. The realization of how badly they needed him was a bit suffocating at first and that is where you can really see the transformation in Sean. Going from this guy who thought he was on vacation visiting family, to this guy who realizes the weight of the responsibility waiting for him. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Sean and Kevin. Kevin is such a unique little boy and I love the way Sean starts to realize just how unique Kevin is and that to leave him alone with Aunt Vivian would do irreparable damage...more
I admit, when I realized one of Bruno's primary reasons for visiting Ireland I got that rock in your stomach feeling that it was going to purely be a Republican bashing novel. (For the record I am a registered Libertarian) And while there was a great deal of "Bush bashing" , my irritation waned with the development of the love story of Addie and Bruno as it started to overshadow the hate. I still have pretty strong feelings about Authors pushing political agendas in novels, but I was able to look past that to the heart of the story. Love. ...more
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed Jill Mansell's work of art. Lara is the kind of character that I would love to have as a BFF. I enjoyed watching her navigate the waters of "Ex-Land" - she behaved much better than I would have, that is for sure. The relationship between Gigi and Lara was always fun to watch. The mutual respect they had for each other was certainly admirable. I also enjoyed the secondary story of Evie and her mishaps in love. It really said a lot about the bond of friendship she had with Lara that they were able to pick their friendship up after all those years as if no time had passed.
Bottom line, I have been a huge fan of Jill Mansell for years. I am always so excited to see that a new book is coming out and I rush to read it as fast as possible. Her characters are always cleverly written and are so multi-dimensional that it is easy to relate to them. If you have never read a Jill Mansell novel, then I must ask - why not?...more
The Making of Us was an engrossing novel. The author did a wonderful job of giving the reader an in depth look at these three siblings and their father. You really got to know Lydia, Dean, and Robyn, and as the reader truly gets to know them, you realize how much they would benefit from having a sibling. All three are a bit lonely and adrift in their lives. Anyone who has a sibling (I have six of them) knows that it can be a love/hate relationship at times, but no matter what happens they are there for you and "got your back".
Bottom line, I really did enjoy The Making Of Us. The book really grabs you from the first page. As you start to read about these three very unique individuals you realize that their lives are all lacking in someway. If you are looking for a well written novel about relationships, you must not miss this one, it will leave you wanting to call your siblings just to say hi......more
Just in time for the Holiday book season, The Bridge is a sweet and heartwarming novel about the impact a place like a bookstore can make on your life. We all should be so lucky to have a place like The Bridge in our lives. I enjoyed all of the characters in the story, but I was a bit irritated by Molly's timid nature, just because I don't like the way she handled her father's meddling. At the beginning of her new book, The Bridge, prolific Christian Fiction author, Karen Kingsbury, gives props to not only bookstores, but booksellers. And that means a lot to folks like me. It is nice to feel appreciated by the authors whose work we sell.
Overall, the Winter weather we have been having, really put me in the mood for my first "Christmas" book of the season. ...more
So first things first, did you know that Wendy Markham is a pen name for Wendy Corsi Staub? I did not! I have several books by Wendy Corsi Staub, but admittedly have not read one yet. I do know that they are a completely different genre than what Wendy Markham is known for writing. That's Amore was a sweet novel about two people trying to find love. I enjoyed Daria, even though there were a few times that her hesitation frustrated me. I also enjoyed Ralphie, his down to earth qualities with his family loyalty makes him a great guy for any woman, especially Daria...more
The beauty about reading the Graphic Novels and watching the show are that they are similar, yet so different. Since we are on season three of the show I thought that I would know what to expect in the graphic novel, but I was wrong. There are a lot of similarities, like Carl getting shot. But there are a lot of differences, too. Enough to keep me guessing and enjoying the novels, which is what I love.
Bottom line, I don't know why I (and ten million other people) am so fascinated by The Walking Dead, but I am, and not just the television show. There is a certain amount of emotion conveyed in the artwork of the graphic novel that you just don't get from a regular novel. ...more
Hanging By A Thread has everything a good suspense novel should have. A strong female character, not one but two handsome boys, a mystery, and some supernatural powers. The story moves along nicely and keeps you guessing as to who is the killer. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Clare and her mother and grandmother. It didn't seem like the way most Young Adult novelists portray the mother/child relationship.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a mild mannered "spooky" book to read during the Halloween season, I urge you to give Sophie Littlefield a shot. This was the first book of hers that I have read, but I am looking forward to looking up more of her works, I am especially to see what she does with novels for adults....more
Emma Tupper is a sweet character at a crossroads in her life, by no fault of her own and she is not sure which way to go. Right back to the life that she was living or improve her life by switching jobs, boyfriends, and apartments. I enjoyed everything about Emma. Her feelings about her situation really translated well to the reader, my heart ached for her. I also really enjoyed the relationship between her and her best friend, especially the way her entire family enveloped Emma at Christmas, it was really heartwarming.
Bottom line, Forgotten is an enjoyable book on so many levels. The characters, the scenery, the level of conflict that Emma faced. It all joined together to make Forgotten an unforgettable novel. ...more
Set against the beautiful Fall backdrop of Santa Fe we get to know these families in an intimate way. I really enjoyed Joe, Glory, and Junniper. The whole family dynamic at Thanksgiving was interesting with Glory's sister and mom there. OH!! I forgot a very important character, Dolores, the ghost who shares their home! She certainly adds character to the story, but at times it felt really forced. My heart really went out to Laurel. Her anxiety about being away from Seth probably came across more strongly than any other emotion in the book and it really endeared her to me.
Bottom line, Finding Casey was a good story. I felt the plot drag at times, but I stuck with it because I wanted to see what was going to happen and find out how the stories would merge. I think it is worth the read, but be prepared for the fact that it isn't exactly a fast paced novel....more
Wow! What a novel, I don't even know where to begin. First of all, Alex reminds me so much of my fifteen year old step-son! All through this book I couldn't help but compare him to Alex and imagine what he would be like in that scenario. Alex (like my Riley) is a smart and resourceful kid and I have no doubt Riley would use his wits to survive. I also found myself longing (again) for Iowa. If I had to live in a Post-Apocalyptic world, I sure would want to do it in Iowa. The small town, neighbor helping neighbor feeling really came through when Alex and Darla went to Worthington. But, also, living only 300 miles from Yellowstone leads me to believe that it is doubtful we would survive a super volcano.
Bottom line, while Ashfall is a Young Adult novel, I would caution that the younger kids of that classification may find parts of the book disturbing. There is a fair amount of violence and the references to cannibalism may be disturbing. Having said that, don't let the Young Adult classification keep YOU from reading this book. It is so well written and so fast paced, it is easy to forget that Alex is just a young teenager. In an admirable way he steps up to the plate in order keep himself and Darla safe. If you are a fan of Post Apocalyptic fiction, then you must read Ashfall!...more
Once again Mike Mullin had me on the edge of my seat. I could not believe how quickly 594 pages seemed to go by again. I found myself caught up in theOnce again Mike Mullin had me on the edge of my seat. I could not believe how quickly 594 pages seemed to go by again. I found myself caught up in the world that is both familiar, yet unrecognizable. I loved how Alex, again, proved that he is no longer just a teenager. He has become a man since the volcano erupted and he will let nothing stop him from tending to what he sees as his responsibilities. The growth of Alex from the early pages of book one to the end of book two is certainly night and day, it is wonderful to watch that growth.
Bottom line, Mike Mullin seamlessly continues the story of Alex and his family in Ashen Winter. Some months have passed and it is interesting to me to see how society has adapted to the aftermath of the volcano. Again there are some really adult themes mentioned in this book, human slavery is just one and the cannibalism is much more prevalent, so let your younger kids read with caution. Overall though, the themes of survival and perseverance in the face of adversity are ones that most of us can learn something from.
From Notting Hill with Love...Actually is a super cute book. Quotes from all of your favorite Chick Flick movies are rampant in this book. The characters are colorful and fun. In my mind as I was reading, I was envisioning how it would be staged on the big screen. Admittedly there were parts of the book that were a bit predictable, but then again, aren't most Chick Flicks?
Bottom line, I don't think there are many, if any women out there who has not sat through one kind of heartwarming Chick Flick or another. If you like Chick Flicks, you will love this book. All of the references to the movies really make the story feel really close to home. You can relate to Scarlett's love of movies and desire to find her "happily ever after" as before the credits role....more
Hester Browne is a great Chick Lit author who has become one of my "must read" authors. In Amy Wilde, she created a sweet, funny, and independent young woman who just wants happiness, but is not ready to sacrifice her family to attain that happiness. If you are looking for a good "fluffy" kind of book, than look no further. The Runaway Princess is just for you!...more
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat follows Rhoda as she battles cancer while trying to foster a new relationship and attending a new church that is so different than anything she ever experienced growing up in the Mennonite faith. Having grown up Catholic, I have not had really any exposure to the Pentecostal faith, so I found that a bit interesting. I also enjoyed watching her relationship develop with Mitch and even Mitch's son, Leroy.
Bottom line, if you enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, you will enjoy Does This Church Make Me Look Fat. The author's sense of humor remains intact despite the fact that she is battling a life threatening disease. The book is about Church, so really it is to be expected that there will be quotes from the Bible and sharing experiences at a new church. ...more
You may remember Lisa Genova from her blockbuster debut novel, Still Alice. Still one of my favorite books to this day. Her new book, Love Anthony, has almost a mystical feel to it. In that way that gives you goosebumps as you are reading. I enjoyed both Beth and Olivia, and their stories. There were things that I found myself relating to with both women and that is something I always enjoy. ...more
Sandra Brown has been on my "must read" list ever since high school. Her books always seemed so scandalous to me. The sex scenes that once seemed so salacious, now seem a bit repetitive to me. The story was a little fresh in terms of the tornado, but for the most part it seemed like a story that I had read before. Beautiful woman is trying to solve some sort of crime and a handsome, yet roguish man gets in her way, then becomes indisposable to her. Crime solved and they live happily ever after.
Bottom line, Low Pressure is an okay book if you are just looking for a mindless love/suspense story. I think that I am tired of the old Sandra Brown formula and it might be time for me to move on. Are you a fan of Sandra Brown's? Let me know what you think of Low Pressure....more
Beautiful Disaster is one of those novels where you want to shake both of the main characters senseless, while at the same time desperately want a happy ending. I liked both Travis and Abby in their own right, but I like them even more together. I really enjoyed the way Travis was so sweet and for the most part, good, with Abby. A lot of girls would love to have a guy like that in their life. Having said that, there were several times throughout the book that I just wanted to smack them silly because they were acting like dumb teenagers, especially when they were fighting.
Bottom line, if you enjoyed Twilight, I think you will enjoy Beautiful Disaster. Travis shares some characteristics with Edward Cullen, but not enough for you to think it was a knock-off. Beautiful Disaster is the quintessential "good girl" meets "bad boy" novel , but with a little twist. The "good girl" is not as "good" as she lets everyone believe. A definite must read for anyone looking for a good romance!...more
I have been a fan of The Walking Dead ever since the very first episode. I have the first three novels to read and with the upcoming season, I thought I would give it a read. It was a very fast read at just 144 pages, but it was well worth the read. There was one major "happening" that just happened at the end of Season 2 of the show, but it happened at the end of Volume One in the graphic novel. The other thing that really struck me was the DETAIL that the artist, Tony Moore, took with the artwork. There are a few full page frames that made a huge impact with me. He certainly conveyed the emotion in a way that impacts the reader.
Bottom line, while graphic novels really aren't my normal genre, I am really glad that I read The Walking Dead. I will most certainly read more of the graphic novels and of course, I am counting down the days until the third season starts. October 14, just in case you were wondering......more
Mitch Albom has made his living writing fantastic little novels that pack a rather large punch. The Time Keeper just continues the tradition. The lesson that Father Time was trying to teach Victor and Sarah is that God gave us an infinite amount of time on this planet so that we are sure to treasure each and every moment. If we were to become immortal, what is there to make us treasure each new day that comes? Father Time tries to get his message across in an "Scrooge" kind of way, but it just adds to the "feel" of the novel.
Bottom line, The Time Keeper is a quick little novel that feels as if it were right out of a Fairy Tale. I learned a lesson that was much needed at this time in my life. Memories are nice to have and revisit, but it is important to cherish each and every day as if it were your last....more
I really had a hard time getting lost in Mockingjay. The other two books I finished in a matter of hours, but this last book took me three days. I didI really had a hard time getting lost in Mockingjay. The other two books I finished in a matter of hours, but this last book took me three days. I did enjoy getting to see more of Katniss's mom and sister. You could almost say that we got to watch Prim grow up over the course of the series. And like any big sister who had a hand in raising her younger siblings, it was a bit of a shock for Katniss to realize that her little sister was growing up. I also must say that I was satisfied with the ending and who ended up winning Katniss's heart. I won't give it away for anyone, but truly, I was happy with the ending.
Bottom line, while it seemed to take a while to get going, it was a satisfactory conclusion to one of the most popular trilogies in literature history. In a way I am a bit sad to know that we will never again get to "see" our old friends such as Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and Haymitch, but I am glad to have read the book and get some closure on The Hunger Games. Have you read Mockingjay? What did you think of the final book? Were you satisfied with the way it ended?...more
Holy Smokes, talk about adrenaline rush! I now understand why everyone is so eager to get their hands on Mockingjay the minute they finish Catching Fire. The cliffhanger is almost criminal! I really liked how Suzanne Collins further developed the relationship between Peeta and Katniss and it makes it really hard to decide if I am on Team Peeta or Team Gale. I also really enjoyed meeting some of the past victors, especially Finnick. It has me so excited for the second movie to be released. I am dying to see who they cast as Finnick. Who do you picture as Finnick?
Bottom line, if you have read The Hunger Games, then odds are you have already read Catching Fire. It is such a heart pounding thrill ride that just grabs hold and doesn't let go. There is just something about Katniss and the people of District 12 that captures your heart and that makes the ride that much more thrilling. So what do you guys think - Team Peeta or Team Gale?...more