Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Winter Street on Nantucket Island is the home of the Winter Street Inn. Kelley Quinn purchased the Inn years ago after leaving his very famous wife and the rat race of Wall Street.  With his new wife they raised his four children along with their new son, Bart.   Flash forward nearly twenty years , it is nearly Christmas and Kelley discovers that his wife has been having an affair with Santa Claus for nearly a dozen years.  His youngest son, Bart, is in Afghanistan.  Ava, his only daughter is a teacher struggling to find true love.  Kevin is a bartender who may have found true love with the French maid, and Patrick may have destroyed his marriage and career by doing some insider trading.    Kelley's world is crumbling and would like nothing more than to hole up in his bedroom and drink his troubles away.

Told in alternating voices we get to see the Quinn family prepare for Christmas and deal with what life has currently dished out.  I think most of us have experienced a holiday season or two that was hard to get get into the spirit of things and that is what it was like for the Quinn family.  Even though Kelley wants to cancel their big Christmas Eve party, the rest of the family know that they need to plow through to live up to the community's expectations.  And once they do, they realize that being with family makes all things easier.  Winter Street was a quick read, but I enjoyed reading through the eyes of all the characters.  The Quinn children are all so different, but the one thing they have in common is their commitment to their family.   The book ended with most everything tied up nicely, but there was one thing that had no resolution and kind of left me going - "what??"  I think the conclusion the reader is supposed to arrive at is the "happy ever after" ending, at least that is what I am going to go with.

Bottom line - Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors and I am thrilled that she wrote a Christmas novel.   Winter Street is a holiday tale about a family that is struggling to maintain their holiday cheer while being faced with some challenging situations.   Full of diverse characters you will find yourself loving a Christmas season Nantucket through the eyes of Elin Hilderbrand and the Quinn family.

The Details:

(96)Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Tuesday

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Amy Poehler is one of those women that I would love to hang out with on a Friday night while drinking adult beverages and talking about the world we live in today.  And I know that if I were ever to be so lucky, I would laugh so hard my sides would hurt.    Like most of America I fell in love with her on Saturday nights and cheered for her when she got her own sitcom, Parks and Recreation.   In her new autobiography, Yes Please, Amy shares her life with us.  Starting with her childhood all the way up to the last season of Parks & Rec.

With the help of some famous friends Amy talks about her time on SNL, from her very first episode on the sketch show, which so happened to be the first episode of SNL following 9/11 to her first episode of Parks and Recreation.  Seth Meyers even takes over for a chapter telling about the night Amy's oldest son was born.  She talks about the funny bits she did for several years at award shows.  Remember when her and fellow nominees acted like they were beauty pageant contestants? Funny stuff there.  She talks about her colleagues, her friends, her marriage and divorce.  She doesn't a hold a whole lot back, but it was a funny, quick book to listen to and make the commute go by a bit faster.

Bottom line, in true Amy Poehler fashion listening to her read her autobiography is fun, entertaining, informative.  I have mentioned before how much I love to listen to celebrities read their own biographies and Amy Poehler is right up there with the best of them.  Definitely worth the "listen."

  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Publication Date: October 28, 2014
  • Buy it Here!

(95) Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 17, 2014

It is Christmastime once again on the beautiful island of Nantucket and Jilly is feeling a mix of emotions.  Her youngest daughter is coming home to get married on Christmas Day, but after her wedding she will settle down in Utah with her new husband.  The thought of her daughter being so far away just tears her up, so Jilly is on a mission to rekindle Felicia's high school  romance with the handsome, Steven Hardy.   But when Felicia and her future husband, Archie, arrive on Nantucket even Jilly has a hard time resisting his charms.  Will Archie win over Jilly?  And will Jilly forgive Archie for keeping her daughter in Utah?
As we all know, Nantucket is a bit of a magical place and that magic continues year round.  From the author's descriptions, the island seems to be just as enchanting at Christmas as it is in the summer. I will admit that at first I found Jilly's scheming ways to be rather annoying, but she seemed to lighten up a bit when Rex came into her life.  Rex is the little rescue cat that Jilly and her husband adopt.  It was totally adorable watching how that little critter wrapped Jilly around it's little paw. And eventually the whole family fell in love with him.   Having Rex to focus on allowed Jilly to lighten up a bit on the matchmaking and breaking up Archie and Felicia.   Like all good Christmas stories, An Island Christmas ends just the way you would expect a good Christmas story would end.  With warm fuzzies and a very Merry Christmas.

Bottom line, it is that time of year when our bookstores, radio stations, and cable television stations are overrun with holiday books and movies.  Basically my favorite time of the year!  An Island Christmas was a great choice for first holiday read of the year.  Can you believe it, just under six weeks until Christmas!

The Details: 

(94)An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thirteen year old Jenna Metcalf is on a mission to find her mother.  She went missing ten years ago after being trampled by one of the elephants at their elephant sanctuary in New Hampshire.  At least Alice Metcalf made it to the hospital, their employee was killed. Alice disappeared from the hospital and was never seen again.  Jenna is now old enough to really understand how much she has missed by not having her mother around, especially since her father has been locked in a psychiatric hospital and her grandmother is not real pleased to be stuck with Jenna.   Jenna enlists the help of a psychic, Serenity Jones, and the detective who handled her mother's case, Virgil Stanhope.  The two adults would like to ignore Jenna and her pleas for help, but they can't resist the teen.  Over the course of a few days they learn more about Alice and her past as well as the others employed at the elephant sanctuary.  But will it be enough to find the missing piece to Jenna's heart, her mother?

Ever since reading Water for Elephants I have had a bit of a fondness for elephants.  I don't think anyone familiar with Rosie the elephant isn't a bit in love with the pachyderm.  In Leaving Time Alice Metcalf is studying a heard of elephants in Africa, the focus of their studies is the way they grieve after losing a loved one from the herd. It is in Africa that Alice meets her future husband, Thomas and she finds her way to New Hampshire and Thomas's elephant sanctuary.  He has a few employees and a few more elephants that have come to the sanctuary for their retirement as performers. But running a sanctuary is stressful.  The public is up in arms over the potential hazards and there is never enough money.  In typical Picolut fashion the story is told in alternating voices.  Jenna, Serenity, Alice, and Virgil all telling their stories in a way that immerse you in the story and among the elephants.  The conclusion of the story will leave you speechless.  Unlike any other Picoult novel, this one really shocked me. There are hints all throughout the book, but I wasn't paying attention.  If not for the twist at the end, Leaving Time was a pretty unimpressive novel.  The elephants were my favorite thing about the whole book, I felt like I learned a lot about their habits and environment.

Bottom line, Jodi Picoult is one of the most prolific writers of our time and has built up a following in the millions by crafting tales that touch the heart and leave us speechless.   We know her stories are formulaic and sometimes predictable, but we still find ourselves eagerly anticipating her every word. Leaving Time follows the same formula, but the end will leave you speechless.

(93)Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy Tuesday (the biography edition)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

As a mother of three Ellen Moore and her husband are committed to raising their children in a safe and secure home. As a  seasoned social worker in Cedar City, Iowa Ellen is sworn to make sure the children of Cedar City get the same kind of upbringing.  She has seen the worst of humanity and she fights to keep the children under her watch safe.   It is a hot, steamy summer morning  when Ellen gets a call from one of her young charges who has locked herself in a bathroom to avoid their mother's abusive boyfriend. Ellen races to the rescue and forgets one very important fact.  Her baby daughter, Avery was in her car seat in the back.  In a matter of minutes Ellen's world is turned upside down and she is turned into the very thing she has dedicated her career to destroy.  A child abuser.

Even though Jenny Briard is just ten years old, she has lived a thousand lives with her mother and abusive step-father.  When she was four, her father swooped in and rescued her from the abusive home.  Now at ten years old Jenny and her father are getting ready to leave their home in Nebraska for a new, better life in Dubuque, Iowa.  Jenny is on the bus waiting for her father when something horrible happens and the bus ends up leaving without her dad on board.    She  decides to get off the bus in Cedar City because her grandmother once lived there and she stumbles into a diner where she meets Maudene, a kind waitress who finds it in her heart to help Jenny. At first it appears that Ellen and Jenny would have nothing in common, but there is a history between the two of them that when revealed, will shock you to your core.  Little Mercies is told in the alternating voices of Jenny and Ellen and while each story told alone would capture your heart, when they weave together it creates an unforgettable story that will stick with you for a long, long time.

It seems like we can't make it through a summer without hearing about a baby tragically being left in a hot car.  We know that 99% of these tragedies are just horrific accidents, but some of the people of Cedar City believe that Ellen should be punished to the full extent of the law.  For Ellen it was a great eye opener, being moved through the very "system" that she has sent hundreds of parents.  She experienced first hand the very emotions that her clients experience and it was gut-wrenching.   Then there is poor Jenny.  Ugh.  That poor child, more than once I wished I could just wrap my arms around her and let her know that she will be okay.    Heather Gudenkauf was quite masterful at tugging at the heartstrings in Little Mercies.  You could "hear" the anguish in Ellen's voice and the fear in Jenny's.  Both of them are struggling to just make it through each day and that comes across so clearly, I promise you will cry.  While Heather Gudenkauf wrapped things up nicely for her characters, I couldn't help but think of those thousands of kiddos that don't get such a happy ending.  It is truly heartbreaking.

Bottom line,  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.

The Details: 

(92)Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

Saturday, November 1, 2014

We meet Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle are on the verge of  their thirty-fourth birthday.  The last year has been brutal for all of them.  Lyn's boutique catering business has taken off, making her one of the most successful businesswomen in Australia, Cat's husband admitted to cheating on his wife, and Gemma has found herself pregnant by the brother of the woman who wrecked Cat's marriage.  And to top it all off their divorced parents are getting back together!  Even though the three women's lives are spinning out of control, they have each other. The bond the triplet's have with each other has always gotten them through the tough times like their parent's divorce and the death of Cat's fiance, but as they approach 34 is their special bond enough to get them through what they are about to encounter?

Three Wishes was really quite humorous in many places, but in others my heart was breaking for these lovely ladies.   The story unfolds in a bit of disjointed way, but it adds to the crescendo of anticipation.   I found myself most connected to Gemma and Cat.  Lyn was the control freak of the trio and seemed to be most in control of her life, it was almost as if she didn't need me (the reader) to worry about her.  I did find myself worrying about both Cat and Gemma.  Especially Gemma as her story unfolded and you realized that she had such a deep, dark secret and of the three of them, she seemed the most lost, just drifting through life. I thought the author was spot on in depicting the relationships between the three sisters and how they sometimes run hot and cold.   That really made the story seem authentic to me.

Bottom line, with the success of recent novels, Liane Moriarty has created quite the loyal following, myself included.  I was looking for an audiobook to listen to on a long drive and was not disappointed with Three Wishes.  While not as good as her more recent novels, Three Wishes is still an interesting look at sisters, triplets, unconditional love and so much more!

The Details: 

(91)Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Television writer Georgie McCool knows that her family will be disappointed that she can't miss work to go back to Nebraska for Christmas. Georgie knows that her husband Neal is at his breaking point and fed up with her long hours, work-husband, and awkward networking industry events. But this is her dream come true.  The show she has been working on with her writing partner has the potential of getting picked up, but it means they have to work through Christmas. After sending her family off Georgie knows that she may have made a marriage-ending mistake.  She seeks sanctuary at her mother's house and in her childhood room she has to resort to using the old landline when her cell phone conks out on her.   But it isn't 2013 Neal that she finds on the other end of the line, but 1998 Neal just days before he proposes to her.   Through those conversations Georgie starts to realize just how much her world would change without Neal in it.  Then she realizes that she may have altered things already by even continuing to make those calls on the Landline.   Did she just change the course of the future?  And if not, will Georgie be able to save the marriage she does treasure above all else?

My October has been nothing but a blur of baseball and a sick dog.  Last week we said good-bye to our dog and tonight my Royals are playing in Game 7 of the World Series (and currently losing by one).   I made a FAST trip to Kansas City last weekend to watch baseball with my family. So what do you do when you have a 32-hour round trip car drive?  Listen to audio-books of course.   Georgie McCool is a great character who is waging a battle millions of women battle everyday.  Work vs. Family.  Georgie is lucky that she has a husband willing to stay home and raise their girls, allowing her to pursue her dreams.  But it is obvious to Georgie, Neal, and the readers that she is taking advantage of him.   Rainbow Rowell tackles this issue with such heartfelt honesty that it is easy to fall in love with this story.  Anyone who has been married knows that marriage is tough.  There is a give and take that has to happen to keep things in balance. When there is an excessive amount of give without a lot of take things start breaking down.  As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, Georgie realizes that she has been taking far more than she has been giving and it may destroy her marriage.  As a wife who is COMPLETELY spoiled by a "giving" husband, it was a bit humbling to read and forced me to think about the balance in my own marriage.   I loved the way the book ended and it left me with that "warm-fuzzy" feeling.

Bottom line, Landline got a lot of much deserved hype this summer.   Rainbow Rowell has written a wonderful little novel examining the intricate ins and outs of marriage.  A definite must read for anyone who is a wife, will be a wife, or wants to be a wife.


The Details:

(90)Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I recently learned that my husband has never seen The Princess Bride. I remember guffawing with shock and informed him that we would be rectifying the situation rather quickly.  The Princess Bride is one of those movies that has a defining place in the memory bank of anyone who has seen it. For me it was in my high school Spanish class. We had watched the movie, dubbed in Spanish, probably half a dozen times.  In order to pass the class we had to say the "Hello my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die" in Spanish.  It is about the only Spanish I can speak to this day.

Given my long love of both the book and the movie, I was ecstatic to receive an ARC of As You Wish, a book about the making of the movie by Cary Elwes.   Not only do we get "Westley's" take on the making of the movie, but there are very special guest appearance from Mandy Pantakin, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Rob Reiner, Bill Goldman, and more.  The book is primarily Cary Elwes's experience, but it was thrilling to get input from everyone else involved in the movie.  There are so many funny stories that were shared that I found myself laughing out loud more than once.  The funniest story shared had to be when the late Andre the Giant let out a fart so loud and so long it rattled the walls of the castle.  I had serious belly laughs at the descriptive nature of the writing.   I was a bit surprised at how much of the book was devoted to the late Andre the Giant, but in reading the book, I understand why.  He played such an important role both on and off screen.  It was sweet to read and makes me a little sad to think of how much the world missed out on his talent.   During the Billy Crystal/Carol Kane scenes, the director, Rob Reiner had to leave the set because he couldn't stop laughing at Crystal's improv.  Little stories like that lets you know that the magic of the movie wasn't imagined, the magic was there both on-screen and off-screen.

Bottom line, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book so much.  It was a quick read, but one I didn't want to end.  Even after twenty-five years, The Princess Bride , for great reason, is one of the most beloved movies of all time and Cary Elwes's book is just another reminder why.  If you have a fan in your life, As You Wish would make a great Christmas gift.

The Details:

(89)As You Wish by Cary Elwes

Saturday, October 18, 2014

It has been a busy October in the Naylor house.  Between the Kansas City Royals being in the postseason for the first time in twenty-nine years (Let's Go Royals!!)  and having a really sick puppy, I haven't been able to get much reading done.  But, we have a few days before the World Series starts and I was able to take a few hours this morning and get a book under my belt.

Kristan Higgins takes us back to the quaint little town of Manningsport, New York in her new book, In Your Dreams.  Jack Holland  is the town hero for recently rescuing a group of boys that took a drive into the local lake.  Jack has kind of made it a hobby of his to be the rescuer all all things sad and desperate.  Including his ex-wife, Hadley.   Emmaline Neal is an officer on the Manningsport's minuscule police department. She was there the night Jack dived into the water and now she needs help.  She was invited to her ex-fiance's wedding and she needs a date.  Jack agrees to go with Em, but he he didn't expect how much fun he would have with her.  They hit it off and Jack now wants to be more than just Em's fake fiance.   Jack and Em are both strong personalities who have struck out in the love department.  Will they be able to put their past relationship failures behind them and look to the future?

In Your Dreams was a fun read with characters I have come to know and love.   Emmaline Neal has to be one of my favorite Kristan Higgins characters.  She has overcome a lot of feelings of inadequacies to find her place in Manningsport. The quaint little town and it's people have adopted Em as one of their own and I love that.  Jack Holland is obviously one of the "town's sons" and can do no wrong in their eyes. They are perfect for each other.  I think their story really is one of my favorites so far. I laughed & I cried as they went through their ups and downs on the road to true love.

Bottom line, Kristan Higgins is one of the most beloved romance writers for a reason.  Her characters are funny, engaging, romantic, and real.  That "realness" translates extremely well to readers and makes it difficult to put down any of her books.  If you haven't tried any of her books, you simply must do so immediately.

The Details:

(88)In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Riley MacPherson's has come home to New Bern in order to settle her father's estate.   She doesn't really want to shoulder this responsibility all alone, but she really has no choice.  Her mother died seven years ago. her older sister, Lisa, committed suicide over twenty years ago, and her older, Danny, is fighting a losing battle with PTSD,  So it falls on her and as she goes through the motions she starts to uncover all sorts of secrets about her family. Like before committing suicide her sister was accused of murder.   Like the fact that she may have been adopted.  Like the fact that her father used to be a U.S, Marshall, and her sister may actually still be alive?  Riley is completely overwhelmed by all of the information she has uncovered and she digs deeper she finds out even more information to rock her to her core and changes everything she ever thought about her family.  Will Riley be able to wade through all of the secrets to find the truth and what will happen if she gets exactly what she wants?

Diane Chamberlain knows how to make a girl want to read.  The Silent Sister is such a captivating read, I didn't want it to end.  Riley is a great character, she has her life together and we first meet her as she is just starting to deal with her father's estate.  The funeral is over and now she has to deal with his collections, his house, his RV park, and everything else you have to deal with when a parent dies. Riley wants her older brother Danny to be the kind of brother that helps her shoulder the responsibility, but he is not that kind of guy and instead it is an old family friend, Jeannie that helps Riley. It isn't until Riley starts uncovering the secrets that she realizes her entire life has been a lie.    At about the halfway point in the book we get to see another side of the story and that sheds some light on the truth. Is it her Dad's view point?  Her brother's view point?   I don't want to give away too much here, but I will say that it really heats things up and gives some validation to Riley's new feelings of complete betrayal.

Bottom line, Diane Chamberlain is skilled at creating stories that just captivate her readers.  She seamlessly weaves in and out of the past and present, slowly uncovering the whole story for her readers and then allowing them to decide for themselves if what happens is justified or not.  The Silent Sister is definitely one of those books that will generate some conversation, so add it to the list for your next book club!

The Details:

(87)The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Happy Tuesday

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Georgian Flu has swept North America and the world as we know it is gone.  Station Eleven starts with the great American actor Arthur Leander collapsing on a Toronto stage during a production of King Lear.  Two people there that night are forever bound by his death, his young co-star, Kirsten and the man from the audience, Jeevan, who tried to save him.  Within a matter of days the world starts slowly shutting down.  People are dying by the thousands and those not dying are busy trying to flee the city for places deemed safer in their minds.  All over the country people who aren't dying are trying to find ways to survive. All over the country small communities are popping up in the strangest places.  They hole up in airports, hotels, anyplace they can sustain life and keep the pandemic out.  Over the next twenty years Kirsten, Jeevan, and thousands of other survivors create new a new world where flights are a thing of the past and young children only hear stories of electricity.  With things like traveling symphonies, printed newspapers, and makeshift schools, some of the survivors try to recreate the society they lost because of the pandemic.  With every known society comes a criminal element.  Will the good triumph over evil or will society be brought to it's knees once again?

I love a good post-apocalyptic novel and Emily St. John Mandel has done great things with Station Eleven. The novel moves around to different people, places and time in the aftermath of the pandemic.  The one thing all of the characters have in common is Arthur Leander.  Kirsten was  his young co-star and she treasure the comic books he gave her before he died, Station Eleven.  Jeevan first connected with Arthur as a member of the paparazzi and was the nameless man from the audience who tried to save his life that night. Clark was Arthur's best friend and was stranded in the airport on his way to Arthur's funeral.  All of their different stories would have been interesting on their own, but knowing that they were all connected because of Arthur just reinforced the belief that even at the end of the world, it is a small world. Station Eleven is so well written that I found myself taking my time to prolong the story.  I haven't done that in a very long time. I think that with Ebola being a recent headline added to the intensity of Station Eleven and that very real fear of "what if."

Bottom line, Emily St. John Mandel weaves a masterful tale of a world nearly destroyed by disease.  Station Eleven is a tale that will sweep you away into a world that has been gutted and is slowly being put back together again. Such a good read, I would love to hear what you think!

The Details

(86)Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ray Kilbride has never really had the patience to deal with his quirky brother, Thomas.  Their father has just passed away in a freak lawn mowing accident and Ray is forced to return home to deal with his brother and their father's estate.  Thomas is so consumed with Whirl360, the online map, that he doesn't even go to their father's funeral.  You see, Thomas believes that he is working for the CIA and must memorize the maps for all the cities and towns in the world.  So that when "it" happens and technology fails, he will be able to help CIA agents all across the world with his knowledge of the maps.  Seems harmless enough, right?  It is until during his online travels, Thomas sees something in a window in New York City.  It looks as if someone is being smothered with a plastic bag.  To appease his increasingly agitated brother, Ray agrees to go to New York City to see if he can find the third floor apartment and prove to Thomas that nobody was murdered in that apartment.  What Ray doesn't realize is that his inquiry sets forth a series of events that will leave several people dead and put his and Thomas's lives in grave danger.

Linwood Barclay is a true master at creating a suspenseful story.  Trust Your Eyes is the story of two brothers and their rocky relationship.  Ray is torn between his sense of responsibility for Thomas and the intense desire to shake him silly. It is an internal battle you see him wage several times throughout the book and frankly I can understand why. That trip to NYC starts off is when things start getting good and with the help of an old reporter friend, Ray starts putting the pieces of the puzzle together.  And it isn't pretty.  Also, as the story goes on, there is a subplot involving  Thomas and an event in his childhood. That subplot eventually brings out the protective brother in Ray and that is when I like him best.  Trust Your Eyes is a fast moving book and is full of action and suspense.

Bottom line, Linwood Barclay is one of those "no-risk" authors.  You know you are going to get your money's worth with every word he writes and  Trust Your Eyes is no different.  Definitely worth the read if you are looking for a page turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat!

(85)Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Estranged sisters Rose and Emily are called back to their small Vermont hometown of Mill River for their Mother's wake.  They first moved to Mill River in 1983 when their father was tragically killed in a house fire.   For Rose, growing up in Mill River was nearly torture and she felt suffocated by the small town atmosphere.  Their mother was always working so she was given freedom to sneak around and be a little hellion.  Emily didn't hate Mill River as much as Rose, but she hated always covering for her older sister and never seeing their mother.  The older they got the more they drifted apart and it was a tragedy of epic proportions that drove a permanent wedge between the sisters.   Now the terms of their mother's will state that the sister's must live in Mill River for two months and complete a bit of a treasure hunt in order to collect their inheritance.  Emily is willing to comply because it was her mother's wishes.  Rose must comply because her husband lost his job and they desperately need the inheritance to maintain their lavish lifestyle.  As the two sisters settle back in to Mill River it is clear that the rift between them is deep, but will they be able to put the pain behind them to honor their mother's final wish?

While The Mill River Redemption was a really engrossing read, I am still not sure I really liked  it.  From the very beginning it was clear that Rose was, frankly, a bitch. She almost seemed like a caricature of a bad soap opera character.  As much as I disliked her, I liked Emily.  Much more even keeled and likable.  Then there is little Alex, Rose's young son.  He is the complete opposite of his mother and I was thrilled to see the relationship building between him and his Aunt Emily.  I also loved their Aunt Ivy and the little bookshop across the street, really, the whole setting of Mill River is quaint and charming and really my favorite thing about the book.   The story is told in both the past and present, so you can see the personalities of the sisters developing into who they are today, all leading up to the tragic event that changed them both forever.  After the "tragic event" is revealed another terrifying event happens that kind of forces everything to wrap up nicely and I think that is where my biggest issue lies. It was just so bizarre the way things wrapped up.  Among other reveals,  Rose seems to receive a personality transplant and it just didn't seem to sit right with me.  

Bottom line, my favorite thing about The Mill River Redemption was Mill River.  The story itself left me with mixed emotions. If you have read this book I would love to hear your thoughts.
The Details:

(84)The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weight loss is tough. It kind of makes me sad that I still need to be reading books like Lose Your Inches Without Losing Your Mind after two years of effort.  But here I am - looking for some sort of motivation to kick me into gear.  Most of the advice the author gives is not anything new.  She hasn't found the miracle cure, but she did present it in a ten week plan that focuses more on inches than weight.  Her thought is that you lose weight without losing inches you are smaller, but you don't really change your shape.  Which kind of makes sense.  In all of my weight loss efforts I haven't really measured inches only weight and I can see where I have been doing myself a disservice by not measuring.

Another important thing I took away from this book was the importance of eating every three hours.  The author tells the story of a nurse in her 50's that lost over 40 pounds in two months and the only thing she did different was eat something every three hours.  Obviously she isn't eating heavy meals every three hours, but the author points out that by skipping breakfast, having a light lunch and an even lighter supper you are likely preventing your body from getting the nourishment it needs to burn fat.  Should be common sense, right?  But I am definitely guilty of being a breakfast-skipper. Now I know I am not moving as much as a busy nurse, but I can certainly adjust my  diet enough to eat every three hours.  And to help me do that I set an alarm on my phone to alert me when it is time to eat.

Bottom line, Lose Your Inches Without Losing Your Mind is a ten week guide to help kick-start your weight loss journey. Written in an easy to read, easy to understand format Justine SanFilippo provides some helpful insights to help you change your life.

The Details:

(83)Lose Your Inches Without Losing Your Mind! by Justine SanFilippo

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Danny Crider has done the unthinkable.  The teenager took a gun to an event and shot the most popular Governor the state of California has ever had.   Defense Attorney Sophie Giraudo made a name for herself in her hometown of San Sebastian by defending three brothers who were known for their poor behavior and now she has been retained to defend Danny Crider.  A decision that is not popular with Sophie's ex-husband, the prosecuting attorney, her family and the people of San Sebastian.  At every turn she is defending her choice to represent the troubled young man.   With the help of her PI friend, Ham, they dig into Danny's background to try to find out why he did what he did and in the process Sophie reveals some things in her past that have made her who she is today.  But  Danny's controlling mother, an absentee father, and an icky boys group director all contribute to his decision to shoot the Governor.   Is it enough to get Danny off or will he lose his life for his crime?

In Doubt is one of those books that could have been "ripped from the headlines" or even a Law & Order episode.  The story even moves as quickly as an episode of Law & Order.  Sophie is a great main character and as the story goes on you can even see the similarities between Sophie and Danny.  Specifically they each have a rocky relationship with a controlling, demanding mother.  They both made some sketchy decisions that led to dire consequences.  It was easy to understand why Sophie was so desperate to help Danny. I understand being from a big family, like Sophie, but it irritated me the way her family treated her.  And her ex-husband was an arrogant ass.    You can't really call In Doubt a mystery because the reader knows Danny shot the Governor, but you don't know why and that is somewhat of a mystery.   As Sophie & Ham are digging for the truth, I will warn you, that they reveal some very uncomfortable and graphic situations regarding pedophilia and rape.  It isn't gratuitous, but it could be tough for some of you to read.

Bottom line, Drusilla Campbell weaves a dark and disturbing tale about the secrets families and small towns are willing to keep in order to protect their good name.  In Doubt is a gripping novel that will both disturb you and captivate you at the same time, making it difficult to stop reading until you reach the very end.

The Details: 

(82)In Doubt by Drusilla Campbell

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lucy and Owen come from two different worlds.  Lucy comes from a wealthy family and live on the 24th floor of this upscale Manhattan apartment building.   Owen's world shattered when his mom was killed in a car accident and forced his dad to take a job as the apartment building manager.   Owen and Lucy meet in the elevator during a blackout.  They spend the evening chatting the night away on the rooftop, but the electricity comes back on and the real world interrupts their fairy tale.   Lucy moves with her family to Europe and Owen and his dad take off across the country in search of work,  The only way they keep in touch is through postcards.  From Edinburgh to Lake Tahoe to San Francisco and Paris.  Lucy and Owen may meet other people, they may see other places, but in the end, there is only each other.  Can their budding relationship survive the miles and geography that separates them?

The Geography of You and Me is a sweet and tender novel about the obstacles one young couple must overcome to keep their relationship going. I truly enjoyed the sweetness of Lucy and Owen.  Their relationship was tentative, but pure.  It was a quick read, just a couple of hours, but I really enjoyed the way the author laid out the story of Owen and Lucy.  They were from two completely different backgrounds, but they didn't let it have any impact in their relationship. Well other than the distance thing.  I was pleased with the way the story ended, not too gooey or unrealistic, but just enough to give you hope for the future.

Botton line, The Geography of You and Me is a sweet teen romance novel.  Lucy and Owen are great characters and perfect for each other.  It is a sweet and quick read and most definitely you can trust with your teen daughter.

The Details:

(81)The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Tuesday!