Monday, July 20, 2015

The Half Brother

After graduating Harvard, Charlie Garrett makes his way to a
small private school in New England that is as quaint as a storybook. He is offered a teaching position in the English department and even though he still resembles a student himself, decides it's as good a place as any to start adult life. His love of literature and rapport with the students is a huge success and Charlie becomes a beloved part of the Abbott family. But Charlie's real family is complicated. His search for a father figure pushes him towards intense friendships and simultaneously his very first love, May. Years later when his mother, Anita, reveals an ugly truth Charlie's life is turned upside down and even though he is hidden away in this small private world, the arrival of his step brother Nick confuses things further. This novel about family, love, hope and truth - is beautifully written. The words so carefully chosen. I absolutely will be looking forward to reading more from this talented author, Holly LeCraw.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

China Rich Girlfriend

Crazy funny satire following Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan,
China Rich Girlfriend follows the lives of a few elite Asian families who have gazillions of dollars to spend and then some more to spare. Journeying through their insanely rich lives from Singapore, to London and back to China, Kevin Kwan showers us in funny anecdotes, explanations and social culture of the rich and wanna be famous. They drive million dollar cars, fly in humungous private jets and have over the top homes and habits. Continuing to follow the romance of remotely normal Rachel and Nick and all their distant relatives and friends, this novel is an extremely funny beach read that is well done and highly entertaining.

Paris, He Said

Talented Jayne, a struggling artist, works in an office
and a shop to pay the (ridiculous!) bills of a NYC life. All the while she is painting less and less as she becomes tired, distracted and uninspired. Of course she still admires and feeds off of beautiful works and one evening when her best friend drags her to an opening of a guy she has a crush on, Jayne meets Laurent and there is no doubt that her life is about to change. Laurent, more than 20 years her senior, is a very handsome, sexy, intelligent gallery owner whose accent and charisma immediately sweep her off her feet. Never believing this relationship is going anywhere seriously, Jayne is deeply enjoying the company of this man who truly appreciates her beauty and aspirations. It is the first person in a long while to inspire Jayne to become the artist she always believed was meant to be. Months into the romance Jayne is invited by Laurent to move with him back to Paris. The invitation includes all expenses paid so Jayne can immerse in her painting and they could continue their relationship in the most romantic city in the world. Told through both the eyes of Jayne and her lover this novel had me on a journey quicker than you can say bon jour. The intriguing relationships between Jayne and her art, the unexpected friendship with his daughter, the partner at the gallery who is both alluring and deceitful and of course, Jayne and Laurent. Their age difference, their cultural upbringings, the idea that someone can get pleasure from giving and truly want nothing in return. Whether you are an art lover, a francophile or a romantic at heart, I highly recommend this novel and look forward to reading more from this excellent new writer I have discovered. #summerreading

Monday, July 6, 2015

Luckiest Girl Alive

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that! And neither was TifAni FaNelli.
This is the story of a young girl growing up bullied and tormented by the popular group at school she desperately tries to join and her parents loveless, unemotional relationship. All she wants is to fit in. At college Nell, her best friend, teaches her the ropes and now Ani (pronounced Ah-nee) swears to herself she will never not fit in again, her place will never be questioned, she will do it all perfectly. The man (she is engaged to Luke), the ring, the job, and the looks. Behind her sometimes vicious facade, all Ani really wants is to feel safe, to be happy and accepted. All Ani really wants is to accept or somehow forget her tragic past. Through her years in upscale Main Line of Philadelphia to a prestigious college and then the life Ani creates in Manhattan, she climbs and climbs to the top. But the air is very thin at the top and it's oftentimes hard to breathe. From the moment I picked up this perfect suspenseful novel I COULD NOT put it down. Brought quickly into Ani's world and told through alternating past and present chapters the reader is mesmerized and silently rooting (or is that praying?) for Ani. Do not wait for the movie, which Reese Witherspoon has already optioned, The Luckiest Girl Alive IS the book of the summer.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Third Wife

Can the Wolfe family really be just one big happy family?
Well, that is what Adrian Wolfe tells himself over and over. He is best friends with both his ex wives, the magnificent Caroline and sweet Susie. Together they have 5 beautiful children. They vacation together and share meals together. But how does Maya, his third wife feel? How does she fit in to this pretty picture? Sweet, pretty affable Maya. She seemed happy, she appears content and enamored with Adrian and his extended heart strings. Until tragedy strikes and Maya is killed by a horrific bus accident. Not really believing if it was an accident drives Adrian and his family to dig deeper and find the truth. Suddenly there is a mysterious blonde woman "stalking" the clan. An ex girlfriend of his son Luke's reappears and is suspiciously like a bad rash you cannot get rid of, there is a phone left in Adrian's apartment, horrible emails are found embedded deep in his computer, and on it goes. Each chapter revealing just a little bit more mystery but not enough to put all the pieces together. I could not put down this quick, suspenseful read, my third by Lisa Jewell. I love her writing and the ease with which she pulls the reader into the story. Highly recommend this perfect beach read!

The Sunlit Night

Frances, a recent college graduate has been chosen to spend her
summer as far north as possible. She will assist an artist with the completion of his installation on a small island in the Norwegian Sea, 95 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Frances leaves her bizarre parents in a small NYC apartment to sort out their unfathomable "separation" and bewilderment over her sister's upcoming marriage. So part of her journey is to escape the unknown of her future as well as a family in turmoil. It is on this tiny island that Frances meets an eclectic cast of characters, and Yasha, who moves her heart in ways she did not know possible. Yasha has found Lofoten by way of his own personal heartbreak. His beloved Russian father has died, his outrageous mother has reappeared after ten long years and Yasha fears he will be lonely for the rest of his life. Yasha and Frances find friendship as they navigate their feelings, open their hearts to the prospect of each other and try to imagine a portrait of their futures. As the night never comes (literally), it is the perfect location to discover brightness during their darkest days. This quirky, funny, delightful book is beautifully written. The colors come alive as the scenery takes you on a unexpected journey. I look forward to more from this fabulous new author.