Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Giver of Stars


Alice Wright lives a suffocating existence in England. She is repeatedly disappointing her stuffy parents and dreams of a new life. When she meets the very charming Bennett Van Cleve it is her chance to start over in America. Alice and Bennett marry quickly and travel across the ocean where to her shocking dismay, they continue on to a small town in Kentucky. It is in Baileyville that Alice has the opportunity to join the packhorse librarians, a group Eleanor Roosevelt created to make jobs and spread literacy in these remote parts. As her marriage  all but disappears Alice realizes she traded one kind of loneliness for another. Going against her father-in-laws wishes she finds immense happiness with this brave group of women who deliver books throughout the difficult mountain terrain. The first half of this well written novel moves quickly focusing on criminal coal mine owners, women’s rights and racism. The second half, a murder trial when librarian Margery is thrown in jail, drags a little. It is an enjoyable historical fiction novel by Jojo Moyes that has MANY similarities to The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson, which came out months ago. If you read Troublesome it is impossible to ignore these unmistakable coincidences. Putting that aside, I enjoyed them both.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Twice in a Blue Moon


Tate was raised in a remote small town in northern California. Her beloved hardworking Nana Judith takes her on a graduation trip to explore London before college begins. Having never been very far from home, their two-week adventure is precisely scheduled to be filled with non-stop shows, museums and lunch at Harrods. The ladies never expected to meet the charming Luther and his handsome grandson Sam on their very first day. Sam and Tate immediately connect and manage to escape the over protective clutches of Judith to experience their very first young love. Tate feels things she has never experienced before. She shares her most precious secret - she is the missing daughter of the worlds' most famous film star. When this information is leaked to the media her life is turned completely upside down and an entire destiny is changed forever. Fourteen years later on the set of her break out film co-starring her father, Sam and Tate meet again. Realizing their chemistry is as passionate as ever, these star crossed lovers must decide if it is possible to find trust and love again. Slightly different from their long list of bestsellers, Twice in a Blue Moon is another delicious romance from the never disappointing duo Christina Lauren. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Write Escape


Antonia Harper, a beautiful thirty-something editor based in Chicago loses her job and her fiancĂ© on the same day. Overwhelmed by her intrusive mother, meddling sister and a lot of wedding plans to undo, Antonia decides to finally focus on the novel she began but set aside long ago. Winding up on her honeymoon in Ireland alone, Antonia finds herself in a quaint village rental next door to Aiden Byrnes, a charming literature professor chasing his own demons. As their push pull friendship slowly turns into more, Aiden and Antonia both learn lessons that open their hearts to the most unlikely possibilities. Filled with laughter, hope and a hot guy with a great accent - this is an adorable romantic journey (of two book lovers!) to one of my favorite places. 

The Dutch House


Danny Conroy gracefully narrates this magnificent story centered around his childhood home in the beautiful suburbs of Philadelphia. After their mother disappeared, his older sister Maeve and the housekeepers essentially raised Danny while their father ran a successful real estate empire. Lonely but loved, the siblings adapted. After a few years their father married a much younger woman named Andrea. She moves into The Dutch House with her two young daughters and incrementally takes over their lives. Ultimately exiled by this evil selfish woman, Danny and Maeve find themselves torn from the only home and family they have ever known. This house becomes the obsessive center of their lives and every important decision is later made with a mix of regret and resentment based on this profound loss. A deep-seated attachment to the past and unfaltering commitment to each other breeds jealousy from Danny’s wife and solitude for Maeve’s future. Told over a period of fifty years, The Dutch House is more than just a house, it is a tale of love and hope. Every day we live our lives we are making memories, whether you realize it or not. Absolutely loved this latest novel by the talented storyteller Ann Patchett.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Grammarians


Laurel and Daphne Wolfe are identical twins who are as fierce and feisty as their flaming red hair predicted. Obsessed with words and grammar since childhood these inseparable twins spoke their own treasured language and continuously outwitted the adults in their lives. A fine line between constant amazement and “is there something wrong with them?” - their psychiatrist uncle and loving parents couldn’t quite figure them out. Daphne unsurprisingly creates an eminent column devoting herself to the usage and meaning of Standard English while Laurel becomes a kindergarten teacher and poet. Both living in NYC, the sisters begin to grow apart for the very first time in their lives. Marriage, children and opposing views of destiny slowly unravel this tight-knit relationship. A lifelong battle over ownership of their father’s precious Webster’s dictionary seals their fate. While the ending fell a tad short, logophile (my new favorite word!) and storyteller Cathleen Schine never fails to entertain.

Friday, September 27, 2019

The World That We Knew


1941, Berlin. The streets are swarming with Nazi’s. Hanni’s husband, the good doctor has been murdered and her mother is very ill. Even though it breaks her heart Hanni must send her daughter Lea away. Only 12 years old, Hanni wants to keep Lea safe and far away from the nightmare that has invaded their world. She secretly engages Ettie, the Rabbi’s daughter, to use her forbidden knowledge and create a golem to protect Lea during her travels. This mystical creature of Jewish folklore looks human but has no soul, she is as strong as one hundred men. Throughout their escape to France and the three years afterwards, Ava faithfully guards Lea’s life. From the convents that hid Jewish children to the brave French Resistance that led them through the mountains to Switzerland, countless hero’s saved thousands of lives. This magical story filled with dancing birds carrying messages of hope and the angel of death eerily filling his notebook will take you to a fairytale version of a very real atrocity, remembering the many who tragically disappeared and the few who survived. Author Alice Hoffman is the extraordinary talent to bring this story to life.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fix Her Up


Georgette Castle is a clown. Seriously, she has a professional clown business and makes a decent living. Her family runs a renovation company in town where her brother bosses everyone around and her sister handles the interior design. Always the baby of the family, neither her parents nor her siblings seem to have much faith in her natural talents which make children smile and put parents at ease. Her brother’s best friend Travis comes back to town as his professional baseball career plummets. He needs a break and some privacy. Georgie’s lifelong crush has returned and “the silly younger sister” is finally grown up and has the curves to prove it. She may be the only one who can talk some sense into Travis as he is haunted by a not-so-perfect childhood and the unknown future. Quick adorable read as Georgie makes over her home and herself to get the attention she deserves!

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen


Rose Wallace religiously follows everything and anything Jane Austen. Having spent her entire life in Bath, every choice she makes and plans she devises revolve around the annual festival and fun she will have with her Janeite friends. When her best pen pal Morgan, travels across the pond to attend, Rose could not be happier. After assisting the very handsome Dr. Aiden Trevellyan with his lecture Rose is ready to enjoy her week off work and let the festivities begin. What she can’t help noticing is the woman upstairs named Jenny, who dresses and speaks meticulously in the Regency era. Who would ever believe that she is the real Jane Austen, appearing through time travel devices of a magical necklace? Who would dream that after their meeting Rose could become trapped with her in an alternate world where Jane has never been published and Mr. Darcy does not exist? Rose needs to find a way back to her world and life filled with her beloved novels. Fan fiction, fun fiction, paradies. Call it whatever you like, if you love Jane Austen then you can never get enough! 

This Is Not How It Ends


Charlotte Myers has an unexpected seatmate on her flight back to Kansas City. This pretty, small town school teacher is immediately entranced by Philip’s charm, good looks and irresistibly sexy British accent. More worldly and generous than anyone she has ever known, she is swept off her feet - all the way to Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Philip’s constant business trips leave Charlotte lonely with a little bit too much time to contemplate her future. The ring placed firmly on her finger may not represent the life she was once certain of. As mother nature tempts the couples resilience with a hurricane, a handsome chef tests Charlotte’s desires and it is the calm after the storm that slowly tears her apart. Have the tissues ready, this heartbreakingly beautiful story is sure to be the romance of the year. Releases January 1, 2020.

Find A Way


Diana Nyad was swimming throughout her tumultuous childhood and adolescence. Her unwavering commitment and mantra “Never, ever give up” drove her to become a world champion swimmer in her twenties, and a household name when she set a record swim around Manhattan Island. After retiring, she enjoyed success as a popular sports broadcaster and motivational speaker. Thirty years later, at sixty, Diana Nyad shockingly reentered the competitive swimming world with one goal in mind; an ocean swim from Havana to Key West, 111 tortuous jelly-fish, shark infested miles never done before without aid of a shark cage. Her unending determination to realize The Dream and overcome deeply buried pain from past physical and emotional abuse, took Diana on the ultimate race of her life. Unputdownable memoir of courage, faith and friendship.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

American Royals


What if when America won the Revolutionary War instead of George Washington becoming our first President, he became our first King? Imagine if our entire American history became based on a monarchy? Author Katharine McGee has done just that. 230 years later, Princess Beatrice, the eldest of the Washington children, has been groomed her entire life for the throne and America prepares for their first female monarch. Her father, the King, wants her to marry quickly and she is handed a short list of contenders but no-one knows that Beatrice’s heart is already taken. Her sister, Princess Samantha has a crush she must keep hidden and her twin brother Prince Jefferson is a handsome rule breaker that every girl in the country wants to snag or shag. Throw in a couple of friends and frenemies and this fast paced romantic history lesson is the most fun, clever story I have read in a long time!

And Now There's You


Leila Brandt is a woman in her mid-fifties, living in the Philadelphia suburbs and passionate about her interior design business. With a picture perfect model home and successful daughter living around the corner one would assume Leila couldn’t ask for more. But they would be wrong. For the last five years, since the untimely death of her husband Leila has done everything possible to keep her loneliness at bay and let her predictable routine pass the time away. When she begins a project with local architect Ayden Doyle, the comfort Leila found in the mundane starts to fade. Feelings carefully hidden begin to surface and Leila finds herself opening her heart to the idea of new love. In theory I like the premise of this story filled with hope and second chances - but the painfully tedious, stilted language, immature relationships and excessive details of decor was just too much for me. Easy read but I wanted so much more from this story.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Layover


Joshua Fields is a handsome twenty-something, diligently working with his father in a thriving commercial real estate business. He travels frequently, enjoys his on again - off again girlfriend and up until now his life seemed pretty predictable. While waiting for a flight to Tampa, Joshua bumps into a lovely woman in the gift shop. At the airport bar he buys her a drink. They chat, have instant chemistry and she passionately kisses him goodbye. And just as quickly as the beautiful Morgan appears in his life, she is gone. Moments later still thrumming from the kiss, Joshua glances at a television screen and glimpses Morgan’s face on a missing persons alert. He calls the police and dives into a twisted mystery he must slowly unravel to save this damsel in distress. It appears Joshua is the handsome knight determined to rescue the girl - unless of course the damsel turns out to be the danger. Fasten your seat belts because this fast paced, suspenseful novel is now boarding!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Our New Normal


Hazel is a lovely, smart, typical 16 year old girl living in Maine. And then she gets pregnant. It is not in spite of - but because of  - her intelligence and warmth that she insists she will figure out a way to raise this baby, that she and Tyler are in truly in love. The Ridgley family is turned upside down. The natural order of things would have her mom, Liv, take care of the baby while Hazel finishes high school and continues her education to become the doctor she always dreamed of. But Liv just packed her son off to college and is finally going start the renovation business she has spent years planning. She loves her family, cares for her aging parents but she doesn’t want to start over again. This intense pressure put on every family member is a realistic look at each of our roles and how one persons decision affects them all. Can we change without disappointing the ones we love? Are we, as moms, daughters, sisters, wives allowed to choose ourselves? Highly recommend this thoughtful, well written novel. Would be an excellent book club discussion!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Remind Me What Happened


Claire, a globe trotting journalist, wakes up in a hospital in the Florida Keys. She does not know how she arrived. Oddly, Claire remembers specific events as a child, her parents lives and even her grandparents, all long gone. But yesterday, last month, last year - absolutely nothing. Her passport reveals she has recently arrived via India and doctors confirm the swelling surrounding her brain was caused by Japanese Encephalitis. A virus caused by a mosquito bite, there is no cure. As she heals, her memory may slowly return. Her husband Charlie and best friend Rachel help put together the puzzle that is her life. Steering Claire through photographs and stories, buried secrets of love and regret come bubbling to the surface. Are these their memories or hers? Narrated by three different perspectives we go along on an emotional roller coaster of time, curiously examining the value and beauty of our precious past.