There are a few authors that I always look forward to reading each summer and Mary Kay Andrews is one of the tops on that list. Her books are always t...moreThere are a few authors that I always look forward to reading each summer and Mary Kay Andrews is one of the tops on that list. Her books are always the PERFECT light read for summer yet escape from being all fluffy and nonsense. Why I haven't managed to get myself to Savannah/Tybee yet is beyond me because every time I read her books I want to immediately drive to the location of the latest novel (well except for the Outer Banks where I have been going my entire life, which she nailed perfectly).
The latest novel is set back in Savannah and focuses on Cara whom is a florist that is trying to break into high-end weddings. Cara recently inherited the business and is trying to turn things around to payoff a loan to her father and keep her nose to the grind. After her dog gets lose at the worst time, Cara is shocked when a man takes her puppy and claims it is his own. From there on the story plays out with varying characters twisting and untwisting around storylines and there's even a cameo by BeBe and Weezie (albeit just a mention). Overall it's a great beach story and a fun read.
I do have a minor gripe about BeBe and Weezie because it makes no sense that Cara had have been hired for the job, they would have hired their friends who I am drawing a blank on now but who did Weezie's flowers for her wedding. Anyway, a fan of Mary Kay Andrews should love this latest addition and the bonus is this novel is a standalone so anyone can read it! (less)
I love a good YA novel and for whatever reason, Life as We Knew It really grabbed me when I read it. It was such an interesting synopsis and I don't k...moreI love a good YA novel and for whatever reason, Life as We Knew It really grabbed me when I read it. It was such an interesting synopsis and I don't know why but novels like this really grab me. It was a perfect balance of young enough for teens but gripping enough for adults to enjoy as well. It's sequel with Alex (The Dead and The Gone) was also good, although it didn't grab me as much as the first but I think that is partly due to already knowing what was in store environment wise. The third in the series (This World We Live In)... it was okay. I kind of liked the way the first two books ended and the thought that while life never returned to our normal, it did get to be a new normal and they survived. With all the weirdness that was the third book, I still enjoyed it for what it was but honestly, the whole Miranda/Alex thing to me seemed so forced. Still, I wasn't turned off to the point of not wanting to read the latest segment in the Last Survivors series so here we are.
The Shade of the Moon picks up 4 years after the asteroid hit the moon and life has completely changed. Outside of a few people whom have stuck it out in rural places, there are now two types of people, "clavers" who live in exclusive enclaves that you either have to know someone to live in, be somebody important or have a slip for entrance. The enclaves have filtered air, fresh food and most things given to them. Then you have the "grubs" whom are essentially the clavers slaves. They work the dirty jobs that clavers are too good for and get paid a pittance while living in crime filled cities. Very much like the world in most dytopian novels i.e. Hunger Games. There's the haves and the have-nots and no one likes each other. Jon, Lisa and Gabe live in the Sexton Clave while Alex, Miranda and their Mom live in White Birch, a grub town. HIs brother and his wife also live in a grub town but are further away so are not featured predominately in this novel.
I think my major issue with this novel is that unlike the other three, this novel is all about how horrible humans can be to one another - to strangers, to friends, to family and to lovers. While in the other books there were times that, yes, humans sucked, for the most part it was more uplifting as you saw how people helped each other along and survive in the world after the unthinkable happens. This book is all about the awful ways people treat each other, and it isn't pretty. Jon has done some pretty terrible things and some of it is written off like no big deal. Like it's not a problem that he (view spoiler)[almost rapes Julie (hide spoiler)] but it's no big deal that he routinely goes into White Birch and (view spoiler)[rapes grubs (hide spoiler)]. This book is just very depressing to read and while the end is a bit more uplifting, it takes far too long to get there.
This book is also NOT for the younger set of YA as there is quite a lot of horrible things in it like rape and murder. I'd definitely prescreen this one before letting a child read it. Heck, I'm haunted by a few scenes and I'm in my 30's! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It's rare to find an author that gets better as the years go by, typically they have a few really great novels and then their works slowly decline as...moreIt's rare to find an author that gets better as the years go by, typically they have a few really great novels and then their works slowly decline as they try to keep up with demand and 20+ novels in they are just lacking the spark they had originally. Diane Chamberlain is no such author, instead she gets better and better with each new novel and the latest, Necessary Lies, is one of her best yet.
Necessary Lies tells the story of June who is new to social work and takes on numerous clients, including Ivy during her first week on duty. June, a newlywed who has always been a rule breaker sees that Ivy is a bit more than the box the rest of the world has placed her into and wants better for her but it is the 1960's and change wasn't as easy back then. Their story is bookended by Brenna in the current time.
As with all of Chamberlain's novels, this was an incredibly well-written novel that immediately swept me up and took me along for the ride. I didn't want to put it down! I don't know why this novel gripped me so much, moreso than the past few of hers, but it really grabbed me and it will take a while for the story to settle down in my thoughts. The main "issue" of this novel is so horrifying that I think many will be equally transfixed by the story. I appreciate how well Ms. Chamberlain dealt with it, it's hard to believe that it is a fictional tale.
There is a short prequel to the novel, The First Lie, which helps set up the story but isn't a necessary read to understand and enjoy this novel. (less)
When I see Jen's books on my "picks" for Amazon Vine, I do a happy dance because there are few authors that I look forward to as much as her. I've esp...moreWhen I see Jen's books on my "picks" for Amazon Vine, I do a happy dance because there are few authors that I look forward to as much as her. I've especially missed her over the past year or so since her blog posts have been waning and her Ambien fueled twitter binges have seemed to come to a stop (the reason behind this is explained in this book BTW). While she's still "out there" and has had a few wars on Facebook she's not been around so much and she's definitely a person that I can always count on to make me smile with her wit. So, when I saw this book in my list of the month I clicked on that sucker as fast as possible and stalked the UPS man until it landed in my lap and proceeded to devour it in a day.
This latest installment in Jen's memoirs may be my favorite. I can't quite put a finger on it but I think it's because it's the most balanced of all of her memoirs. Most of them are non-stop laughs, which don't get me wrong - I enjoy, but this latest installment has not only the laughs but it is tempered by real life problems such as a sick beloved pet and health scares. Sometimes life isn't all fun and games and I think I liked reading a book that had the full range of what life in a year is really like. This book had me laughing out loud but it also had me crying (damn you Jen!) and I think that's why I really liked this one.
The Tao of Martha follows Jen in her quest for 2012: embrace Martha Stewart in everything from cooking to organizing to decorating and everything in between. I'm kind of in awe of how well the year went for Jen and it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I'm not too far gone in my slovenly ways to be saved by Martha-ing up my house too. I don't know that I'll go as far as hitting up The Container Store and making my own labels but it's fun to read about your average every day person turning themselves around in a year... with a side of wit of course.
If you're a fan of Jen Lancaster I think you'll definitely enjoy this latest book. Bonus? Not a single blog post has been used. Not that it bothered me in the past but I know a lot of people were. Bonus of the bonus? Copious amounts of pictures? Finally the Martha Stewart buttercream on the cake? NO MORE FOOTNOTES! Now you can read this book on your Kindle without any finagling or cursing! *throws confetti* (less)
When perusing upcoming books by some of my favorite authors to put on my "to be read" shelf so I remember to pick them up as they become available, Sw...moreWhen perusing upcoming books by some of my favorite authors to put on my "to be read" shelf so I remember to pick them up as they become available, Sweet Salt Air was recommended to me on Amazon because of what I'd been adding. Immediately the book's name piqued my interest because there are fewer smells in this world that I love more than salt air. I then realized it is written by Barbara Delinsky and I was excited as I'd read other books of hers in the past and enjoyed them. When I then read the synopsis and saw that it was set in my beloved Maine I couldn't wait for the release date! I was super stoked when I saw this book in my offerings for Amazon Vine and jumped at the chance to read it before it came out.
Sweet Salt Air takes place on a small island in Maine (sadly I believe it is fictitious) where two friends come together for the first time in many years for a summer. Together they write a cookbook while sorting through the house and getting it ready for sale. Each friend is in a different place in life - Nicole is hiding a secret about her husband while putting a brave face on for the world to see while Charlotte is a freelance writer traveling the world but has a secret she's kept from Nicole since their last summer on the island.
I was expecting your usual fluffy beach read but I should have known to know more was to come from Ms Delinsky and she didn't disappoint. She brought Maine to life quite vividly and captured the essence of what I adore about that state. The prominent relationship in the book, the friendship between Nicole and Charlotte was well written and I enjoyed the journey with them. I had a feeling how the book would end up but I still was pleasantly surprised by a few things and especially enjoyed the romance side of the story. Finally I congratulate the author for NOT including recipes. I don't know why all of the sudden authors keep adding in recipes whenever food is involved but for some reason it isn't my cup of tea so I liked that this novel talks about food and recipes but didn't include a bagillion (or even one) of them.
Overall I enjoyed my stay on Quinnipeague and think that many others will as well. (less)
I am a bad reader. I know I read Firefly Lane but I don't recall all of the specifics beyond really being annoyed by Tully. So, if someone reads this...moreI am a bad reader. I know I read Firefly Lane but I don't recall all of the specifics beyond really being annoyed by Tully. So, if someone reads this and could PM why TullyandKate stopped talking that'd be awesome (I think I know but I'm not sure). I wish I'd reread it before diving into Fly Away because I think it'd help but maybe it's better I didn't?
Anyway, Fly Away follows the story of Tully and Kate's family after Kate loses her battle with breast cancer. It's mostly focused on Tully but there are many side stories going along at the same time as well. I believe it covers the first 6ish years after Kate's death.
Fly Away is probably one of the darker novels that I've read, while the ending has a bit of an uplift, the bulk of the book is full of depression, anxiety, drug abuse and molestation. It's a tough read, especially for anyone that's experienced anything she covers. It's tough stuff that does happen in life but many read to escape so if you are the type that reads to escape you may want to take a pass on this novel.
The other downside to this book is the bizarre timeline. There's a somewhat linear timeline going but then people keep going back and "reminiscing" and it goes all over the place and some characters overlap. It's okay to read but it sometimes gets confusing because they cover the same instance in a few different viewpoints which I think was not necessary.
However, with all that being said, I did enjoy the novel and I think most of it was because of Cloud's story. You finally get to see the other side of the story and understand where she came from, why she was the way she was and rejoice in her redemption. I also loved Margie and only wish my Mom was half the woman she is.
I think that fans of Hannah's will enjoy this book but HUGE fans of FIrefly Lane may be disappointed because of how dark this novel is. (less)
Ms. Thayer returns to Nantucket with this novel follows Arden, Meg and Jenny - three sisters that are forced to spend their summer in their recently d...moreMs. Thayer returns to Nantucket with this novel follows Arden, Meg and Jenny - three sisters that are forced to spend their summer in their recently deceased father's house on the island in order to receive their share of the proceeds from the sale of the house.
I've come to look forward to Nancy Thayer's books each summer as they are perfect summer/beach reads for me. Last year's novel, Summer Breeze, wasn't quite up to snuff but I think part of that was due to the lake setting instead of Nantucket. I was excited when I saw she was returning to the island this year.
While the book didn't live up to Beachcombers and her earlier works for me, it still was a decent beach read that I'll be recommending to friends that like fluffy beach ready books. Most of the novel is an easy wind that is enjoyable to read and the relationships I really got into. Each sister has their own quirks and qualities and I enjoyed getting to know them all, even if the ending of the book was a bit predictable.
The major downfall in this novel comes in the last act of the novel. A character is introduced at the very end and the whole plot involving her just seems to be pointless and the story didn't seem to need it. Without that extra bit I feel the story would have done better overall. It didn't ruin the book but did give it a WTF quality if that makes sense.
I still recommend this read to those looking for a book to take with them to the beach or pool this summer, just try to ignore the blip at the end ;) (less)
This is a hard book to review because I wanted to like it so much because I generally like books by this author but it fell disastrously flat for me a...moreThis is a hard book to review because I wanted to like it so much because I generally like books by this author but it fell disastrously flat for me and I am so sad because her last novel "I've Got Your Number" I actually ended up liking a lot! After my mess last year, I had to make sure I was judging this book on it's own qualities and not my love for the author ;)
I think what the biggest problem is for me with this novel is that there really isn't a single character that isn't an idiot. I mean, we are all idiots in some form but this book has them in spades. Most of Kinsella's books revolve around the one heroine that is a dingbat and gets themselves into one scrape after another while around her is a slew of pragmatic people. This book is a bunch of hair brained idiots and you don't feel yourself rooting for anyone because they are all morons! Lottie rushes into a marriage on the heels of a breakup, Fliss makes one bad decision after another trying to keep her sister from getting married, Ben doesn't seem to have more than an iota of a redeeming quality in him, Lorcan is probably the best of the lot but he has issues himself and even Richard you want to smack a time or two. The only character I was cheering for was Noah, the compulsive liar! That's NOT good.
I really, really, really was looking forward to a fun dip in the silly book pool with this novel but even as a lighthearted beach read I can't recommend it. I finished it, so there is that. There are way too many better books out there to spend ones time enjoying. (less)
**I received this ARC novel from the Amazon Vine program**
I literally did a happy dance when I saw this novel offered to me from Amazon Vine. I adore...more**I received this ARC novel from the Amazon Vine program**
I literally did a happy dance when I saw this novel offered to me from Amazon Vine. I adore Jane Green and while her novels as of late have turned a darker corner than her earlier works, I still enjoy her writing and works (save for A Walk in the Park, oy). I still have a huge soft spot in my heart for Bookends, which will always been one of my favorites. I varied between a 3 and 4 star for this book but ended at a 3.
Family Pictures is a fast-paced read. I was able to finish it in less than a day. However, much of this is because you know how this book is going to unfold, or at least most people will be able to figure it out. So the first half of the novel, you are skimming and waiting to see how things unfold. Once they do, they do and it continues to go the way you mostly expect it to. Not much surprised me in the book and while I'm not always expecting a whodunit or crazy plot twist, it was borderline boring to read a book that was this predictable.
I also felt that there was a lot of unnecessary bits to this novel, especially Buck's chapter (the point of that was....?). I'm still questioning the point of George and I still don't quite know where in the heck he came from. There's a few things like this that really don't relate much to the story and I'm not used to this from Jane's novels.
In the end though, it was a quick and decent read. I won't be raving to everyone about it, but it's not a novel I would caution one against reading.(less)
**I received an ARC copy of this book from Amazon Vine**
I was elated to see this novel in my offerings from Vine this month as Jen Lancaster is one of...more**I received an ARC copy of this book from Amazon Vine**
I was elated to see this novel in my offerings from Vine this month as Jen Lancaster is one of my favorite authors. I liked her first foray into fiction and was looking forward to her second that seemed to be a completely different take as the first was more of a fictional version of her life where this novel is completely original. I was sorry to see no Fletch-like character though ;)
I enjoyed the book but I must admit that reading about mean girl antics for me just is NOT fun, especially after bought with a well-known author this past year (who is mentioned in this book ironically enough). I just hate that kind of crap and going through it in school was bad enough. My heart broke a bit for some of the kids she teased and how awful she was to them. It was interesting to see how they used that to their advantage though and the changes with the time travel.
There were a lot of funny parts but not quite as many as I've come to expect from Jen but in this case it was OK. The funniest bits to me were the texting, silly I know but so true to life. I did enjoy going back to high school not far off from when I graduated although I'm glad to be back in the future ;)
In the end I really enjoyed the journey Lissy takes and it was a fun read that I sped through in less than a day. (less)
I blew through this novel in less than a day so there is something to say about how it sweeps you and takes it with you and quickly however in the end...moreI blew through this novel in less than a day so there is something to say about how it sweeps you and takes it with you and quickly however in the end I wanted to like this book more than I ended up liking it.
This novel follows two women on Nantucket, Beth and Olivia, whom are each rediscovering themselves after suffering different heartbreaks. Beth is an aspiring writer and is working on her first novel while Olivia is hiding out in her family's summer home trying to figure out what to do with life after her son's death. The women touch base intermittently but aren't really involved in each others lives.
I think my bottom line issue with the novel is that it's not all quite believable. It's a nice story and one that I'm sure many mothers wished could happen but the reason I adored Lisa Genova's previous novels is because they read so true, there wasn't a moments doubt that what happened in her novel could occur (or has) in real life. I do have to say that the way she writes autism is entirely believable and I commend her on how much research went into it.
My side gripe is that I really hated how easy she made it sound to start a photography business. It really isn't just picking up a camera, pointing it at people and clicking away. It also isn't a simple click to remove years from a woman's face in Photoshop and can take a lot of work to do correctly. I know it's trivial but being a photographer this really irked me. (less)
Nancy Thayer takes a break from setting her books in her native Nantucket and heads to Dragonfly Lake for this novel about three women who become frie...moreNancy Thayer takes a break from setting her books in her native Nantucket and heads to Dragonfly Lake for this novel about three women who become friends over a summer where they find themselves.
I was sad when I realized this book didn't take place on Nantucket as the rest of her novels that I've read have but I'm happy with any sort of body of water in a book so I kept hoping that Dragonfly Lake would capture the magic that Nantucket has before. Sadly, I felt that Summer Breeze, while an okay read, did miss the mark when it comes to the magic I've come to love from Nancy's books and most importantly the places she describes. The lake does have a bit of fun but it's nothing compared to her descriptions of Nantucket and the way it is brought to life.
Beyond that, while eventually I did settle into Bella, Morgan and Natalie's friendship, the beginning was a bit jarring when they are introduced over a cookout and in the next moment they are inviting each other over for cocktails and completely at ease with each other. I did like seeing these three women find themselves and I really liked how the love aspect was ambiguous and you weren't quite sure at any time who was going to wind up together.
It was a decent read and I'd rate this a solid 3.5. A fun light read for the summer months but not one I'd tell my friends is a MUST to take or read while poolside this summer. (less)
I received this book as part of Amazon's Vine program and at the time was quite excited to read it but sadly I wasn't as excited by the time I ended t...moreI received this book as part of Amazon's Vine program and at the time was quite excited to read it but sadly I wasn't as excited by the time I ended the novel. While I was happy to see that the book thankfully had no glorification of cheating in the story lines, which is a running theme with most of Giffin's work, it still fell flat for me when compared to Something Borrowed/Something Blue. I never really clicked with either of the heroines of the novel - Marian and Kirby were both a bit too one-dimensional for my liking and I honestly thought the storyline of the adoption was a bit trite and unbelievable. The ending really irked me and left me not feeling keen on everything that lead up to that moment. An interesting premise for a story but it wasn't well executed for me.
In the aftermath of my review I received a lot of hateful comments from Emily and her legions of fans she sicced on me once seeing my review which means that it will be a LONG time before I read one of her books again. (less)