Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer is fast approaching on the island of Nantucket.  It is what the residents of Nantucket wait for all year.  The onslaught of vacationers and the rhythm of summer means that all is right with the world.  Madeline King and Grace  Panick are two natives who have been best friends forever.  They grew up on the island together and now lead "charmed" lives with their families.  Grace's husband is a successful real estate mogul on the island and Maddie has made a name for herself has as a quite successful author.  With summer approaching, so does Maddie's deadline for her next book, and she has nothing that anybody would want to read.  For Grace, summer means the return of her extremely handsome landscape architect, Bennett Coe. Grace spent the winter preparing for his return by losing weight and getting in shape.  Both women forgot one important detail, Nantucket is a very small island and soon rumors are flying about the both of them.  Will their marriages - and their friendships sustain The Rumor?

Summer isn't summer until Elin Hilderbrand's newest novel has hit the shelves.  The Rumor does not disappoint, set in the familiar Nantucket setting we get to "spot" a few characters from past summer novels.  But, we also get to meet these two women who appear to lead charmed lives. Churning underneath the surface are issues that even they don't know about. I think that Grace is the most clueless when it comes to  her husband, "Fast Eddie".  Not that he is cheating on her, (because he is not)  but in the fact that she is clueless to the family's finances and the juggling act that Eddie has been doing for quite sometime.  His desperate behaviors would be sleazy if he wasn't just so desperate to not disappoint his wife - the very same wife who is lusting after the gardener.  And then there is Maddie,  who is so desperate to turn in a book for fear that she would have to give back her advance (the advance she invested with "Fast Eddie")  that she writes her most salacious novel yet. I can't really say that I blame her, but she was silly to not disguise her muse a bit more than she did.   In the end, everything falls apart for both of them and I find myself feeling sorry for both of them. It can be utterly traumatic to realize that your whole life is a sham.  But they are two strong women at their core and I was very satisfied with the way their story ended.

Bottom line - Elin Hilderbrand is a masterful artist at depicting life on Nantucket.  A lot of authors use Nantucket as the backdrop for the perfect summer vacation, but Hilderbrand goes deeper and explores the lives of the locals in a way that just hooks you.  It is why I keep coming back summer after summer.  As always, a great read from a great author!

(53)The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 29, 2015

When Ella found out that her husband was having an affair she was completely shattered.  Even though some time has passed she still feels the loss to her core.   When she meets the handsome Blake in a local restaurant she feels the need to pretend the pain she feels isn't because her husband left her, but because he died.  What Blake hasn't told her is that his name is really Hunter, a famous screenwriter from Hollywood whose entire career rests on the success of his next movie.  He hears the story of Ella's "dearly departed husband" and thinks he has found the key to his next blockbuster.  They both have lied to each other, but one thing remains true, their undeniable attraction to each other.  What will happen when they both discover the lies?  Will they be able to get past the deception?

Anybody who has had their heart broken is going to be able to understand why Ella lied to the handsome stranger.  She never thought she would see Blake again and telling someone your husband left you for your best friend's sister would be a bit humbling for anybody.  Normally I have a zero tolerance for that kind of deception in my real life or in my fiction, but the pain Ella displays makes it understandable.  Blake/Hunter on the other hand seemed like a stereotypical Hollywood sleazeball from the word go. I get the ex-wife and daughter thing, but sleeping with your assistant is so stinking cliche it just made him seem like a fake character. He never came across as genuine whereas Ella did.  I never really did warm up to him and I am not entirely sure why Ella fell so hard for him.  In the end The Idea of Love ended in a predictable way, not good or bad, just predictable.

Bottom line - I am not going to lie, I was a little disappointed.  I was hoping to be swept away and find myself rooting for the "happy ever after" - but I really wasn't sure which way was the "happy ever after" I wanted.


(52)The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Jon Cryer is the next in a long line of celebrities to share their life's story with the world.   He starts with his childhood in New York with parents who are also in the business.  He tells us what it was like going to summer camp at the famed Stagedoor Manor.  Of course he shares with us his early days in show business, including his perpetual problem of being mistaken for Matthew Broderick.  He covers his brief relationship with Demi Moore.  And then he finally gets to the part I was waiting for, the making of Pretty in Pink.  Sadly, his time making Pretty in Pink was not as eventful as I had hoped.   In fact I was a little disappointed about the off screen chemistry between Jon Cryer and his co-stars, or lack thereof.   More of you may be more interested in his time at Two and a Half Men and he doesn't disappoint.  He is honest and open about the time spent on the show and his co-stars.  It was really refreshing to see him being honest about his relationship with Charlie Sheen without being mean or resentful.  If anybody had a reason to be vicious while discussing Charlie Sheen's time on the show, it would be him.  But instead he stated the facts and expressed concern for his friend who was obviously spiraling out of control.

Jon Cryer is obviously one of those guys who has that "what you see is what you get" kind of presence.  He readily admits that he is a little bit nerdy, little bit dorky and not at all a "ladies man."  He shows up to work committed to his craft and focused on what he is being paid to do.   I admittedly laughed out loud a few times in the book and found his self-deprecating humor to be entertaining.  I think my favorite story was him talking about his inability to hi-five.

Bottom line - I love celeb memoirs, I think that has become obvious.  Listening to them in audiobook form has become one of my favorite things about them.  To hear them telling their stories is like sitting across from them at a table and chatting with them over beers.  While So That Happened isn't the juiciest celeb memoir ever it was an entertaining way to pass the miles on the treadmill.

  • So That Happened by Jon Cryer
  • Pages: 352
  • Publication Date: 4/7/2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Buy it Here!

(51)So That Happened by Jon Cryer

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Twenty-something Cat is fearless and fancy-free.  Living in London she lives the kind of life that many twenty-somethings would envy.  Working in magazines she gets access to all of the posh parties and of course that means all of the free food and drink she can stand.  So of course she drinks frequently, who doesn't when they are at a party?  One night after such a party Cat wakes up in a strange bedroom in a strange house.   She does not remember how she got there or who the man on the couch is, but there he is.  Jason was kind enough to take her to his home when Cat was too drunk to remember where she lived the night before.  Jason remembers everything, though because he is a recovering alcoholic.   It is the start of their roller-coaster ride of a relationship that spans decades.  Through horrible drunken mistakes involving a trip to Nantucket and a long lost family, through multiple attempts at sobriety, through the birth of their daughter and more Jason sticks by Cat's side urging her to fight for her sobriety and their family.  Until he stops.  Cat is devastated by their divorce and once again she fights for her sobriety. And that means a trip back to Nantucket to make amends.  Will Cat finally be able to face her demons and make peace?  And is it too late to make peace with Jason?

Oh Jane Green - why must you be so awesome?  I told myself that I was only going to read a few pages on the deck this morning before going off for a walk,  Next thing I know hours have passed and the hot sun told me it was too late for a walk.  It was easy to get swept away in Cat's story because it very well could have been my story had I not changed my course.  I could totally relate to the desire Cat had to be at all the cool parties where everybody was drinking and having fun.  I could even relate to nerves that drove her to drinking as she did in Nantucket when she went to meet her long-lost family. I get it.  The blackout drinking is scary and Cat was going to that extreme far more than was healthy and even she recognized that , but not enough to want to change.   I loved how Jason was the steady force in her life from the very first night they met.  He made her want to be a better person and I can relate to that, too.   The book kind of moves around in terms of timeline with huge chunks in one era or another, but it was necessary to get all of Cat's story and to understand what drives her.  Cat is more than just a party girl and it is important for us to know that about her.

Bottom line - Summer Secrets tackles a pretty heavy-hitting topic with Cat's story.  Alcoholism is  one of those secrets that destroys lives and often time it is happening to the person you would least expect.   Definitely a must read this summer and sure to generate lots of chatter at your next book club meeting.


(50)Summer Secrets by Jane Green

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Our favorite Archivist, Beecher White, is back in Brad Meltzer's new book, The President's Shadow.  The First Lady finds a severed arm while gardening on the White House lawn and sends the President's security into a scurry.  How did the arm get there?  Who does the arm belong to? And what does that scrap of paper clutched in his hand mean?  Beecher White and the Culpepper Ring are called in to help find answers.  As Beecher starts searching for answers he realizes that it is all tied to the past and soon he realizes that this past is intertwined with his own past.   Will he be able to find  out the truth before more body parts start turning up?

My very first Brad Meltzer novel was The Inner Circle several years ago and I enjoyed it, so when I noticed The President's Shadow available on Netgalley I jumped at the chance to read it.  We get to meet up with some of the same characters, like Marshall, and Nicco, and Clementine.  Crazy or not, they certainly add a certain "something" to the story.  One of the things I loved about both books was the fast paced nature of the story.  The mystery and espionage is really what I needed to "cleanse my pallet" after all of those beach reads. I also really enjoy the "secret" history of America that is revealed in these books.  How much of it is factual, I cannot say.  But the National Treasure-esque style of the book really made it fun.

Bottom line - The President's Shadow is a bit of a deviation from my normal reads, but it is worth the read if you are looking for something different.  Suspenseful, fast-paced, and guaranteed to suck you in.


(49)The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Vanessa "Van" Moran left Whisper Beach twelve years ago and hasn't once looked back.  Now she feels compelled to go home for the funeral of her cousin's husband.  Van thinks she can just go and make an appearance then head off to her much needed vacation at a ritzy resort.   She should have known though, that her friends would spot her and suck her back into the life of small Jersey shore town.   Her friends talk her into staying for a few days and she finds herself back at Dorie's, the restaurant owner, turned boss, turned friend and mother figure to Van and her friends.  Van runs into her old flame, Joe. Joe was the love of her life and the man she left when she ran away all those years ago.  Will he be able to forgive her and will she be able to forgive herself?

Whisper Beach is a book about friendships, love, and redemption.  Set along the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Sandy we get to see what Hurricane Sandy left behind.    While Van left the Jersey Shore for bigger and better, her friends stayed behind.  I will be honest.  I didn't really find myself connecting with any of the characters. I don't know if I am in a book slump and it is just my mood or what, but I just found myself going through the motions with this one.   Van was a likable enough character, but I just didn't find myself wanting to know - or even caring about - what happened that sent her running.  I was expecting something salacious, but the truth was a bit boring. I didn't ever really feel the connections between Van and her friends.  Usually the friendship bond can strike a chord with me, but not this time.  It just felt flat to me.

Bottom line - it is entirely possible that my thoughts on this book could just be me being in a slump, but this was not a book that I connected with at all.  I would love to hear feedback from others that have read Whisper Beach.  Was it just me?


(48)Whisper Beach by Shelley Noble

Friday, June 12, 2015

Have you ever been to the Upper East Side of Manhattan?  I haven't - well, at least I don't think I have - that family trip to New York City was fifteen years ago.  According to author Wednesday Martin, traveling to the Upper East Side is akin to traveling to another planet.  When she and her husband, an Investment Manager, made the move to the Upper East Side she decided it was worth writing a book about the world that is the Upper East Side.   In her book, Primates of Park Avenue, Wednesday Martin takes an anthropological approach to her observations often comparing the behaviors of UES mothers to behaviors you would find in the animal kingdom.  She writes about the ultra-competitiveness you would expect from the spouses and offspring of ultra-alpha-males.   She writes about the expectations of wives, mothers and children of these men.   She writes about the excessive wealth of these residents. And she writes about her efforts, as a humble woman from the Midwest, to assimilate to these strange and fascinating ways of the Upper East Side.

Let it be known that since publication of Primates of Park Avenue it has come to light that Wednesday Martin was not as accurate as one would should be when writing a memoir. There were a few exaggerations and discrepancies noted in this New York Times Article.  From almost the first page of the book I found myself entertained by the excessive living that happens on the Upper East Side, I mean don't these women ever have a day where they just binge-watch Netflix and eat pizza and ice cream? (Answer: NO!)  Early on the narrative in my head sounded a lot like Lindsay Lohan's observations and narratives in the movie Mean Girls. And that was essentially what it was. Mean Girls come to life in the Upper East Side.    I understand the author's need to acclimate and fit in, but she pretty much lost my respect when she spent an inordinate amount of time in the book covering her obsession (and subsequent purchase) of a Birkin bag.  The author spent a huge chunk of the book playing up to her Midwestern roots and identifying as someone not like "those mothers" in her neighborhood, but that Birkin bag had me calling bullshit on the humble Midwest upbringing having any impact on her current outlook on life.   I lost some interest in the book after that, but I made it through and was left feeling as if the Upper East Side really is another world.

Bottom line - one of the reasons I love to read is because I want to learn about things and places and people outside of my own little world.   Maybe it is because I have a thirst for knowledge or maybe it is because I am a little voyeuristic or maybe I just love to be a Judgy McJudgerson on how other people live their lives. My desire to read  Primates of Park Avenue  might just fit into all of those categories.   I think  Primates of Park Avenue is definitely worth the read, but go into knowing that it is a bit over the top.


(47)Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wife and mother, Sloane, jumps at the chance to spend three weeks at her Aunt's summer home at Lake George.  She has just sent her daughter off to camp and Sloane knows that the time away will be good for her and good for her marriage - a time for her to grieve the loss of her beloved sister and evaluate her future.   Sloane invites her friend Hillary to join her and her oldest friend Georgina invites herself to come along.  Sloane doesn't really want Georgina there for Sloane is furious with her for ignoring the fact that Sloane's sister passed away.   If anyone should have been there for Sloane during her sister's illness and death it should have been Georgina, but instead Georgina didn't call, send a card, or even acknowledge that Amy had died.   Throw in the fact that Sloane's first love, Luke, will be at the lake is enough to keep this vacation from being the relaxing vacation Sloane had hoped for.   As the weeks pass by Sloane realizes that all three of them are keeping secrets that could destroy their lives.   By the time their vacation is over will they be able to be honest with themselves and those they love?

Sloane was  a tough character to like.  I can understand her grief and even understand the depths of her grief.  I could *not* understand why she allowed Georgina to join them at Lake George.  No is a complete sentence!  I also found myself rather irritated at the fact that she was so passive aggressive towards Georgina the whole time.  Why not just come out and tell Georgina how hurt she was by her lack of acknowledgement at Amy's death? Why play those games and come across as a complete bitch to the woman who was supposed to be her oldest and dearest friend?   Then there was the whole Luke thing.  Ugh.  Really hard character to like.   Hillary had her own secrets that made it tough to like her. Of the three she seemed the most to acknowledge her own shortcomings, so a little more tolerable.   And then Georgina, good grief.  What is it with these women and deception??  Not just keeping secrets, but horribly deceptive and frankly not really nice to each other.  Georgina and Sloane that is, most of the time Hillary almost seemed like an outsider.   There was some resolution in the end, but the only resolution I was satisfied with was Hillary's.  Both Georgina and Sloane's resolutions almost felt like cop-outs.

Bottom line, I really really wanted to like Those Secrets We Keep.  The premise is a great one, but my lack of connection with the characters made it a tough book to get through.   I do believe that those who are at different places in their lives might enjoy Those Secrets We Keep. Let me know what you think.


(46)Those Secrets We Keep by Emily Liebert

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dr. Alison McAdams has been in a haze of grief for months.  Her fiance, Andrew, killed himself just weeks before they were to be married and Ali doesn't know why. She gets word that her elderly father has injured himself and Ali rushes to Napa to take care of him and to try to convince him that he needs to move to Arizona so she can look after him.  Her father flatly refuses.  He has made a life at the retirement community.  He has friends who make his day brighter and his days are full of activity and laughter.  The trip to Napa proves to be cathartic for Ali, too.  She made a friend on the flight and has been spending time helping out at her flower shop.  She has gotten to know the people of her father's community and their family members.  Including the cranky Edie and her very handsome nephew, Craig.  It takes a while but soon Edie and Ali break down the other's barriers.  Ali learns of Edie's ties to Nazi Germany and after reading Edie's diaries she discovers there is more to her story than she believed.  Edie's story sends Ali on a trip across the world that will hopefully bring closure to both her and Edie.

I just adore Jane Porter's stories.  They just touch your heart in ways you don't expect.   In It's You she tells the story of heartbreak and loss.  Not just Ali's heartbreak, but Edie's, and even Ali's father have holes in their heart from the loss of a loved one.    The Napa area is familiar to Jane Porter fans and you even see a  few characters from the Brennan Sister's Trilogy. It makes it seem that you are catching up with old friends.   You can sense the tension and grief start to ebb away from Ali as you get further into the book.  Being in Napa really is good for her and I think it is the distance that plays a big part of that.    It makes me a bit sad when she decides to go back to her life in Arizona because Arizona is where most of the painful memories reside.  Ultimately the book ends the way it should, but you might be a little sad at what happens right before the end.

Bottom line - It's You was a great read.  Love, loss, heartbreak, and resilience all resonate throughout the pages of Jane Porter's new book.   Just as the last book I read, I am going to say, grab a glass of wine and enjoy!


(45)It's You by Jane Porter

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy Tuesday! (It is a BIG week!!)

Monday, June 1, 2015

When the going gets tough attorney Georgia Ford goes to the one place she was so desperate to escape - home.  Just days before their wedding Georgia discovers that her fiance, Ben, has a four year old daughter he never told her about.  Without even stopping to think about her actions she gets in the car and drives the nine hours north to Sonoma.   Her unexpected arrival reveals some shocking things about her own family.  Like her mother is having an affair and her father is in the process of selling the family's vineyard.  And one of her brothers wants to move to the other side of the country.  Georgia goes into "problem solving" mode and tries to solve everybody's problems but her own.  In the process she meets Jacob, the man who is buying the vineyard and that muddy's the waters even more for Georgia.   Will she go through with the wedding and save her family's vineyard?

Through the first part of Eight Hundred Grapes I found myself a little irritated.  Here is this highly intelligent, highly educated woman who finds out her fiance has been dishonest and her gut reaction is to run - still wearing the wedding dress she was wearing for a fitting - nine hours to her family home.  Later in the book Georgia's friend points out the reason she did that and I thought "Oh, that makes sense." - So I got over it!  There is definitely one thing that cannot be mistaken and that is the fact that Georgia loves her family.   Even though her own relationship is crumbling she is so concerned about making the relationships in her family.  She has always looked up to her brothers and to see their relationship in tatters hurts her almost more than her relationship with Ben.  I was pleased with the end even if it was a bit predictable.  Everything wrapped up nicely and with a "happy ever after" conclusion.

Bottom line - Eight Hundred Grapes was a good read. I loved the Sonoma Valley setting and most of the characters were interesting and engaging.  Grab a glass of wine and give it a read.


(44)Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Greer Hennessy's job as Location Manager for a production company has brought her to the Florida swamps. She is on a mission to find the "perfect" beach town and save her career.  She stumbles into the sleepy town of  Cypress Key and discovers that it is exactly what her director is looking for in a set.  Most of the people are welcoming to Greer as she starts setting up for the production crew to come to town, except for the mayor.  Eb Thibadeaux is a busy guy who doesn't necessarily mind the circus coming to town.   Not only is he the town's mayor, but he co-owns the motel that Greer is staying at.  He owns the town's grocery store, he also serves as a real estate agent. and he is co-guardian of his teenage niece.  The sparks between Greer and Eb are undeniable, but he is causing her major problems at work because he won't let them blow up the town's abandoned casino. Throw in a thug of a star and a long lost father and it makes for a very stressful, yet interesting.  summer for Greer.  Will she be able to save her career and get the guy at the same time?

Mary Kay Andrews is one of those seasonal authors that I look forward to every summer. It as if the summer doesn't begin until I have read the latest Mary Kay Andrews.  And without fail she always delivers.   This year's book gave a "behind the scenes" look at movie making.  A "Location Manager" is not a position you ever think of when you watch a movie, but it makes sense that there would be one.  And frankly it sounds like it would be a fun, if not challenging, career.  The "scouting" aspect is what I find most appealing. I liked Greer as a character and I enjoyed the "give and take" between her and Eb.  He is an interesting guy with so many irons of the fire, yet he gives off that "laid-back" beach vibe.   The story came to a natural conclusion that left me happy and longing for next summer's book.

Bottom line- I am sure all of you have your favorite summertime authors and Mary Kay Andrews is definitely on my list.  Her books are like comfort food for the soul.  Beach Town was a fun, lazy read that made me long for the beach. Be sure to throw Beach Town in your beach bag and enjoy!


(43)Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sarah McAdams is moving her two daughters to the home she fought for so long to get away from years ago.   She is recently divorced and there wasn't really anything left for her in Vancouver.  When her boss starts creepily making advances she knows it is time to go, but she isn't sure her family home on the shores of Oregon's Columbia river is much better.   The family home, Blue Peacock Manner, has a reputation of being creepy at best and haunted at worst. As  Sarah and her two daughters, Jade (17) and Gracie (12) try to settle into the dilapidated house news of a missing teen girl makes it way to the remote house.  Everybody at school is talking about it and then another teen girl goes missing. Sarah is concerned about the missing girls, but gets distracted with her own family drama.  Old secrets come to light and Sarah realizes that what she thought was the truth is not and does her family history have anything to do with the girls who have gone missing?
Close to Home was another treadmill book. It was a distracting way to pass the time, but I think I would have probably given up on it had not not been an audio book.  There were elements that I liked, the haunted house aspect of the story.  And I did like the way it ended.  But there were other parts of the story that were so cliche that I physically rolled my eyes.  The story-line of Jade's father for example.  As cliche as they come.  It was the architecture of Blue Peacock Manor that drew me to the story and I was not disappointed.  Gothic, majestic, and completely haunted.

Bottom line - While Close to Home was not may favorite book of the year, it was a satisfactory distraction for the treadmill.


(42)Close to Home by Lisa Jackson

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

As a cop's wife Jamie Anderson knows that every time her husband, Mike, leaves for work there is a chance that he won't come home.  She got the call that saying there had been a shooting, but it was Mike's long time partner, Ritchie, that was critically wounded. That day changed everything.  Mike was becomes distracted, restless, and unable to sleep.  The next time Jamie gets a phone call they tell her there is another shooting at this time Mike shot and killed a teen boy. Their life is turned completely upside down.  The media camps out in front of their house, Mike is indicted, and he is spending more and more time with the mother of his teenage son, Henry.  Jamie is at a loss to how she can help Mike and slowly feels as if their marriage drifting away.  What will happen to their family if Mike goes to jail? Jamie is trying to hold on but she fears she will lose it all.

Things You Won't Say goes there.  Sarah Pekkanen takes on a very relevant topic facing our country today.  A cop shoots and kills a young teen.  The whole city is in an uproar and at the heart of it all is a mother trying to keep her life from falling completely apart.  Then there is Christie,  Mike's ex and Henry's mother.  There is years of animosity (unjust at times) between Christie and Jamie and that comes into play many times throughout the book. But they both love Henry and that is obvious.  I can't pretend to imagine what it was like for Mike to take a young life, but to not have his wife's unwavering trust must have been devastating.  While I thought he behaved like an ass several times,  I think I can understand why.  Lots of food for thought with this one!

Bottom line - Things You Won't Say takes a look at the other side of the story that has been dominating headlines for the last year or so.  What happens to the cop accused of shooting and killing an unarmed teen?  You won't be able to put it down, that I can promise.


(41)Things You Won't Say by Sarah Pekkanen

Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

I, like millions of other people, have become enamored with Jen Arnold, Bill Klein and their two adorable children.  Unlike many other reality television stars, their life seems so normal and together.  And I think that is where the fascination comes from - they seem like a couple that I would love to hang out with on a sunny summer weekend.

In their new book, Life is Short (no pun intended) , Jen and Bill take turns telling us about their births, their childhood, their teen and college years and then wind things up by sharing how they met and got married.  Then of course how Will and Zoey came into their lives.  While Bill and Jen grew up on opposite ends of the country, they had many things in common, mostly medically.   In fact many years before they started dating they met at John Hopkins where they both were recovering from orthopedic surgeries.   Beyond medical issues they both had to deal with some bullying while in school and the feeling of inadequacies when dealing with the opposite sex to name just a few.   But both agree that they who they are today because of the what they endured.

I love how Jen speaks very positively of all her time spent in the hospital. If you didn't know from watching the show, she is a very positive and upbeat person.   She speaks to the "family" of doctors and nurses that cared for her and worked hard to give her as normal of a life as possible.  Her doctor was almost like a second father  in many ways, including being there for her in college when she had a non-injury car accident.  I thought that was very telling to his character and the bond he had with his patients. Jen spoke honestly about her time in med school and the challenges she faced as a Little Person.  Bill was equally as honest about his "wild and crazy" college days and the challenges he faced trying to find a job after college.  Again, what they went through made them who they are today and it is quite admirable.

Bottom line, in filming The Little Couple Bill and Jen invite the world into their daily lives.  In writing Life Is Short they invite the world to learn about their pasts.   It is a quick, yet interesting read and definitely one not to miss.

  • Life is Short (no pun intended) by Jen Arnold, MD and Bill Klein 
  • On Facebook
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication Date: 5/26/2015
  • Buy it Here!

(40)Life is Short (no pun intended) by Jennifer Arnold, MD and Bill Klein

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nobody wants to get dumped via a letter in the mail, but when it happens to Che Milan she reacts in a way that is completely out character.  What better time to honor her recently departed eccentric mother and scatter her ashes at the historic Canterbury Cathedral.  Che takes off for the UK and finds herself joining a "Broads Abroad" tour group that will be making the pilgrimage to Canterbury.   Che joins an eclectic group of women as they walk the sixty miles to the cathedral.   In the true Chaucer way each of the women tell their tales.  From the reality television star whose husband is now in prison to the housewife whose husband was murdered in a drug deal gone bad to the woman whose life has recently been defined by Alzheimer's disease.  The telling of their tales make Che really evaluate her own tale and what she wants out of life.   And along the way she discovers that there is more to her and her tale than she thought.

The Canterbury Sisters  was a fun read.  Che is a character that I enjoyed.  For one thing she isn't a twenty-something looking for love or even a thirty-something, but a woman on "the wrong side of forty."   And even in her forties she was trying to figure things out.  Keep in mind, she had two heavy blows in a short amount of time and that is enough to send anyone reeling.  The death of her mother and her long-term lover had dumped her.  I enjoyed the way Che seemed to loosen up and open up the further they got into their pilgrimage.  She was pretty guarded and closed off at the beginning, but I think her turning point was that night she got drunk in the pub. It was pretty entertaining to read for many reasons, but I also think that night gave Che some confidence she did not have before - thanks to being dumped.

Bottom line - The Canterbury Sisters is not only a book about a physical journey, but for Che it is also an emotional journey.  There is a Reader's Guide included with the book and it would definitely make for a fun book club selection.


(39)The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Through controlled, methodical actions and laser like focus Ani FaNelli has worked hard to put the tragedies of her past behind her and become the kind of women that others envy.  She is engaged to a handsome, wealthy, blue-blood that gives her instant credibility and she is on a career path that will take her far up the publishing industry ladder.  But no matter how far she has come, Ani will always be the "TifAni" that survived a horrific event and the humiliating aftermath all those years ago at the prestigious Bradley School.  As the anniversary approaches Ani has agreed to tell her side of the story in a documentary that will bring all of the pain to the surface.   But will it be worth it?  Will Ani be able to return to her perfect life once all has been revealed?  And does she even want to return to that life?

Luckiest Girl Alive is one of those books that come out of nowhere and knock you on your ass. Through the first part of the book I had a hard time even liking Ani. She came across as this superficial bitch who was doing everything possible to climb her way to the top.   It isn't until about halfway through the book that we start to find out what happened to Ani in the past and and how it shaped the woman she is today.  Let me tell you it was brutal and would have likely destroyed just about any other woman.  Then - just when you think you know everything that happened you get sucker-punched with an event of epic proportions.  I couldn't tear myself away from the book until it was over.  The descriptions are graphic and the emotions will tear you up, but man you will be glad that you read this book.

Bottom line - Luckiest Girl Alive is getting a lot of media buzz and rightfully so.  This is the book that everybody will be reading and talking about this summer.  Grab a copy and see what everybody is talking about for yourself!

  • Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  • On Twitter
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
  • Publication Date: 5/12/2015
  • Buy it Here!

(38)Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Sunday, May 17, 2015

It has been two years since Merritt's husband Cal was killed while on duty as a firefighter. She has spent those two years trying to come to grips with the state of their marriage when he died.  Then one day Merritt gets a call, Cal's grandmother just passed away leaving Cal the family home in Beaufort, South Carolina.  Desperate for new memories, Merritt packs up and moves from Maine to Beaufort hoping to put the past behind her.  What she finds in Beaufort is a whole side of Cal that she never knew existed.  Merritt is not in Beaufort for very long when someone from her past shows up, her Step-Mother Loralee and her ten year old brother, Owen.  Merritt was destroyed when her father went off and got married to the young flight attended - pretty much leaving Merritt in the dust.  She wants nothing to do with Loralee and Owen, but they have nowhere else to go. They spend the summer getting to know each other and trying navigate the hurts of the past.  Something is going on though and Merritt thinks that Loralee is keeping something from her, but what?  And what kind of impact will that secret have on Merritt's life?

I had a really hard time getting into The Sound of Glass, but once I got into it - I was hooked.  The book is told from alternating perspectives.  Merritt's, Loralee's, and Edith's, Cal's late grandmother.  Watching Merritt and Loralee in those early chapters was almost like watching a dance. Merritt was much more cautious and unwilling to let her in, but Loralee was persistent and not willing to back down.  I did figure out (rather early) the secret that Loralee was keeping, but it didn't really ruin anything.  Another part I enjoyed was watching Merritt get to know Cal's brother Gibbes.  While she was married she  didn't even know Cal had a younger brother, but she got to learn a lot about the man she married from his younger brother.  And it explained a lot of her unrest about their marriage.

Bottom line - Even though The Sound of Glass was hard for me to get interested in, I am glad I stuck with it and was pleased with the end.   Might be worth a toss into the beach bag if you have plenty time to allow yourself to get into it.


(37)The Sound of Glass by Karen White

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Thirty-six year old Sophie Anderson knows her marriage is in trouble when she sees something on her husband's calendar that says something like "talk to Sophie about divorce".  When he admits to sleeping with a colleague at work Sophie is lost and unsure of what her next steps should be.  That is until an old friend contacts her about a summer rental on Nantucket.  Sophie dips into her "Mad Money" and books The Guest Cottage for a two-month vacation for her and her two kids.   Sophie and the kids are just getting settled in when thirty year old Trevor Black and his young son arrive at The Guest Cottage.  Trevor made arrangements for the summer rental with his buddy after Leo's therapist suggested a change of scenery might help Leo cope a little easier with the death of his mother.   Once Trevor and Sophie decide that the other is not a serial killer they decide to share The Guest Cottage for the summer.  Soon they settle into an easy routine of lazy summer activities. The kids get along so well and the chemistry between Trevor and Sophie is undeniable.  Will they give into temptation even though the odds are stacked against them?

Can you believe that the 2015 Beach Reads season has started?  I am completely blown away by the thought that summer is almost here and the year is almost half over.  And what is summer without a Nantucket novel from Nancy Thayer?  I think The Guest Cottage is one of her better novels in most recent memories.  And I think that is the case because there are so many different variables in play that keep it from being completely predictable.  The age factor is one of those variables.  Sophie is six years older than Trevor and it is rare to find that in women's fiction.  There are other factors, too.  Like Sophie is still technically married.  In the end things worked out the way they should have and it really does make for the perfect book to take to the beach.

Bottom line - the "Beach Reads" season is officially upon us and what better way to welcome the season than to pick up the newest Nancy Thayer novel.


(36)The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Tuesday!