Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Children Act

Fiona and Jack have been married for most of their adult life.
She is a highly regarded Family Court judge in London and he a professor at the nearby university. They have by default not had any children of their own but have a large extended family and brilliant careers that keep them busy and content. Until, its not. Jack approaches Fiona with the idea that as he turns 60 and before he dies, he needs a love affair with the gusto they once had themselves. Fiona changes the locks. Simultaneously we are pulled into the trials that Fiona's position demands daily. The cases defend and protect the welfare of children at all costs. It is not the morality but the law that must provide a safety for these children, thus The Children Act. Fiona's most intimate case is a loving family that refuses to give their son, who is battling leukemia, a blood transfusion due to the fact that they are Jehovah's Witnesses and it is against their religious belief. This is a fast paced, sophisticated read. While pulling the reader's heartstrings for all involved, Fiona's marriage issues cannot wait, as she loves Jack deeply and does not want to lose him. Highly recommend this excellent story that explores love and faith on a whole other level.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


The novel Longbourn takes Pride & Prejudice to another level,
a lower level according to the times, but full of the same delicious drama and romance as the original, its all about the house staff. Mr. & Mrs. Hill run the Bennet estate. Sarah, a young woman has been with them ever since she was orphaned as a child. She is diligent, hardworking and intelligent girl who remembers just enough of her former life to know there is more outside of servitude within these walls. Polly is still a small girl whom they have all grown to love. She is not much help in the kitchen but sassy enough to bring an element of liveliness to the repetitive motions day in and day out that the help endures. And then we meet James, the Mr. Darcy of this wonderful version interweaving dreams of which there are few allowed to enter young Sarahs life. James Smith, the new footman, is handsome and worthy and works his fingers to the bone for these women, but he carries a few secrets. Secrets that can change their lives forever. If you love Jane Austen, who realized the very basics of the romance novel way back in 1813, you will also love Longbourn. Author Jo Baker brings us into the heart and soul of the Bennet family and introduces us to a whole other cast of amazing characters. Who would believe that 200 years later matters of the heart would be virtually unchanged! A must read!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Story Hour

Maggie, a psychologist is called in for a difficult case at the hospital.
And it is here that she meets Lakshmi, an Indian woman who has tried to commit suicide. So begins the incredible journey these women take together and unlikely friendship that grows to immense proportions. Maggie is married to her college sweetheart Sudhir, a professor at the University who is also from India. She has visited India many times with her husband and knows that the attachment Lakshmi has to her traditions and culture are all that matters and she is willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to make things right. Maggie has her own childhood skeletons lurking in the proverbial closet. In addition, she is surprisingly attracted to a photographer from the past that shows up unexpectedly and wreaks havoc on her quiet life. The attraction is so strong that Maggie gambles all that she loves; her husband, job and friendship with Lakshmi for this selfish, beautiful man. The tables slowly turn as Maggie teaches Lakshmi about independence, self worth and confidence and in return Lakshmi offers a friendship so pure and innocent, it is almost surreal. This amazing author Thrity Umrigar (The Space Between Us) once again reels the reader into the hearts and minds of these magnificent characters. The smells of Indian food waft through the air as you read and their voices are clear as a bell. Learning the difference between right and wrong, what is possible and what is merely tolerable are just some of the lessons in this novel filled with friendship, love and family. Highly recommend The Story Hour, it is a must for your reading list!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


When college student Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires,
Argentina for her semester abroad she is curious, young, adventurous and truly believes the world is her oyster, until its not. Lily's adventure quickly becomes a nightmare filled with murder and mystery. Her roommate (similar to the infamous Amanda Knox case) Katy is found brutally killed and with each clue and every person who has touched their lives in Argentina, the finger seems to point at Lily. Lily, with the obnoxious emails, the texts and conversations she should have never had. She appears jealous and envious of the beautiful Katy, the perfect student with the perfect smile. And Sebastian, the handsome neighbor whom Lily is romancing, conveniently mysterious while hiding in a house right out of the Adams Family.  Lily's family comes to Argentina to support her through this horrific trial and her younger sister is both scared and angry as they find their way through this maddening foreign legal system. Cartwheel is filled with completely unique characters, it is suspenseful and well written. I love the way this author describes so completely each and every scene although it does take time to get used to the overabundant vocabulary that feels slightly self conscious. Highly recommend this exciting new novel, if you loved Gone Girl (and who didn't?!) or Reconstructing Amelia, do not miss this excellent read!

Sunday, September 7, 2014


First of all, how could you not love a book by an author named
Rainbow? Or a story where the main character in Landline is Georgie McCool? Georgie is a thirty something comedy writer in LA. Her husband Neal stays at home with their two young girls while she and her longtime writing partner Seth strive to create the next big hit on t.v. A few days before Christmas the comedy duo have an opportunity they cannot pass up and since Hollywood waits for no one, Georgie tells Neal she cannot go to Omaha for their annual trip to visit his family for the holidays. And Neal goes with the kids, without her. From the moment Neal leaves town nothing is right and as Georgie reflects on their marriage and their life together she becomes terrified that she has made too many mistakes and it has all finally caught up on her. The problem is she wholeheartedly loves Neal and as she reaches back to her past self for an answer to the future it becomes crystal clear that she cannot live without him. Laughing out loud at how real and unreal this is at the same time, I could not put Landline down. If only we could talk to our younger selves, reevaluate our dreams and take back some of the hope that was so abundant in those years. If you enjoyed the satire in Where'd You Go Bernadette (by Maria Semple) or reflective humor of What Alice Forgot (by Liane Moriarty), Rainbow Rowell writes with a consistently smooth, humorous flow that grabs the reader and won't let go. Looking forward to reading her other novels, I do not know how I missed them!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


August Pullman, smart, funny, age 10, lives in NYC, has a sister,
a dog and two loving parents. August has everything that would most likely make him the most normal kid in the world. Except he is not your typical kid. August was born with a genetic anomaly so serious that the doctors did not think he would survive. But he did. And Auggie grew and grew and had 27 different surgeries to make his face and features as normal and functioning as possible. Throughout his early childhood he was homeschooled by his patient, understanding mother and finally, now that the surgeries are finished she would like him to start regular school, middle school. In 5th grade when kids are naturally self conscious about their bodies, their overall appearance and which friendships they make, Auggie has to learn the ropes for the very first time. And it is hard. Wonder is about Auggie's struggle to fit in and survive in this world, his family's intense love for him and how friendships are made, and change and grow constantly. This YA book has many a lesson to be learned. The author fits beautifully inside the voices of these amazing characters. As you make your way through the kleenex you will fall in love with them over and over again. A simple story derived from a complicated medical wonder and the idea that kindness can really change the world.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

A.J. Fikry owns a small book shop on Alice Island. In this quaint village,
Island books is every booklovers dream until A.J.’s life slowly falls to pieces. After the death of his beloved wife (and this was her hometown, really) sales begin to dwindle. A.J. becomes unapproachable and alone. His love of books cannot fill the deep empty void that is his daily life. He refuses to socialize and pushes any do gooders away until a series of events changes everything. A chance meeting with a quirky sweet publishing representative named Amelia, a theft of an extremely valuable book of Poe and a package that is left in his store carrying a short note that will change his life forever. This is a beautifully written, easy pleasant read that no booklover can ignore. A.J. Fikry teaches us about life, love and books all in one simple story. What more could I ever ask for?

I Shall Be Near to You

Rosetta has always been the son her father never had.
She works hard on the farm, she is tough, uncomplaining and even asks one of the boys to teach her how to fight. But her beauty lies not far beneath this gruff exterior and she marries her longtime friend Jeremiah. They dream of a farm together far away from the towns prying eyes, filled with crops and animals and eventually children. As the Civil War continues Jeremiah decides to enlist as they could use the $150 towards the start of their new life together. But three years is a long time. Little does he know that Rosetta who could not bare to be separated from the one person who understands her and loves her like no other, changes her name to Ross and enlists as well. She most certainly has the attitude that if he can do it, so can she, and then they will have twice the funds to begin their dream farm. Jeremiah begs her to return home but she refuses to leave his side and as the battle rages on, the details of the raging battles that follow leave the reader holding their breath with the turn of each page. Filled with such amazing characters I was not only able to envision but actually hear their voices! This historical novel captured my heart instantly and I could not put it down. Thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend, I Shall Be Near to You, for an in depth look at the Civil War through the eyes of patriotic young love. Looking forward to reading more by this exceptional author. Thank you Erin Lindsay McCabe for sharing your imagination and talent with us all!