Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Rent Collector

If you want a book you cannot put down, pick up
The Rent Collector today. This heartwarming story of Sang Ly and Ki Lim and their son Nisay. They live in a dump in Cambodia. They pick trash for a living. There is danger, illness, hunger and shame. The Rent Collector is a woman who is called the dragon lady. She is mean and wicked and often drunk. She collects the rent. Imagine not making enough to pay the rent on your three sided hut at the dump? One day Sang Ly sees something in this woman that forces her to break through this barrier, this facade she has put up, and find out who she really is. Their lives are changed forever. Without giving anything away, I will be brief. A beautiful friendship begins and the hearts and minds of many are changed forever. There are so many lessons to be learned if we take the time to open our eyes wide and find out what the ancestors really mean. This novel is based on a documentary filmed of this very dump which was produced by the author's son. Although it is fiction, you know in your heart that it is very real. So be grateful you don't live in a dump and go get this book today. It is a MUST read.

Fates and Furies

Lotto (Lancelot, what a great character name) and Mathilde
meet at the very end of college and shockingly marry within weeks. She is reclusive and modelesque. Lotto is also of great height and demeanor and known to everyone as the star of the play, star of the campus, a very popular guy. Even though the book is actually set in two parts, Fates and Furies. I see it in three. The first third is Lotto's past. Mildly entertaining and confusing. The middle portion describes their life together struggling in a small basement apartment in Greenwich Village where Lotto discovers his talent as a playwright. Again, very cool setting, interesting characters, complete confusion. The last third of the book is about Mathilde and finally the reader learns who she really is and where she comes from. I actually enjoyed this part the most. The excellent writing flowed easily and although I very much wanted to know what was going to happen I was often unsure if I truly wished to keep reading (never a good thing with a book.) I can't place exactly what the meaning of the story is. Crazy family, abandonment, false friends, secrets, love or finding true passion. Maybe a little of each. All I know is this novel failed to grab me.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes

I read this book in one sitting. Contrary to popular belief, I rarely do that. I smiled and laughed out loud the whole way through. Irresistible, adorable main character, Ally Hughes is a professor on tenure track at Brown. She is raising her ten year old daughter and navigating single parenthood when Jake suddenly enters her life. Okay, it seems like the typical hot hot student (stop it! He is 21) goes for the teacher (who is really not that much older than him) and she cannot resist. Well, at first she tries to resist. He comes over as the handyman and ... he is very handy. This may sound corny but Ally has zero social life and few friends. She has dedicated her life to her daughter and work in an almost monastic facade. She deserves this! And it leads to an adorable story that jumps ten years forward when she moves to Brooklyn, her daughter is grown and a wannabe actress, and it is finally time for Ally to make a love life for herself. This heartwarming look at romance, parenthood and culmination of living each day with all the choices we make brings us this amazing, enjoyable story from author Jules Moulin. Highly recommend this fun read!!

Those We Love Most

Maura Corrigan is walking her young children to school one
morning. It is a day like any other. James, the eldest, is riding alongside her on his bicycle while she pushes the stroller. She glances away for just a moment. And in that moment her life is changed forever. Maura is surrounded by the help of loving friends and family, but it is quite obvious her life will never be the same again. This intimate portrayal of Maura's relationship with her loving but tired husband, overbearing mother and duplicitous father leaves the reader quickly turning these deeply sad but honest pages. Their lives must go on (right?) but the many different paths that we take each day can change lives forever. As the family recovers (can you?) or at least learns to live with this new life, an endless battle of decisions confronts them. Trying hard here not to contain any spoilers, this novel is very very sad. It throws together some of the toughest issues and worst case scenarios that could possibly exist. Author Lee Woodruff smoothly takes the reader around each bend, there is not so much surprise as there is suddenly another burden to bear. Did I mention it was sad?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

After You

We waited long enough to find out what happens to Louisa Clark
(Me Before You) and here it is! After You is Louisa's story. How she copes with Will gone, the guilt, the sadness and loneliness. She joins a Moving On Circle, buys her own flat in London, travels and tries to have the life she thinks Will would have wanted her to have. But its not happening. Louisa misses him terribly. Her job at the airport bar is a dead end flight to nowhere in a stupid uniform, her family is disappointed that she is constantly making bad choices and the icing on the scone is Lily shows up at her door and changes her world forever. Lily is a confused, precocious teenager but she is her connection to the past and Louisa cannot resist as always trying to help and change the lives of the people she loves. With few boundaries Louisa continues to find trouble and complications everywhere she goes. Jojo Moyes tells the story with the wit, charm, humor and ease that made us undeniably fall in love with Will and Louisa the first time around. This is a great sequel - as we all needed closure after Me Before You - and great story within itself of finding strength in family, friends and yourself and the power to turn it all around! There is nothing to discuss, its a MUST read. Well done Jojo Moyes, I truly had no idea what to expect and I loved every minute of After You! Cannot wait to see Me Before You (the movie) in 2016, which I think was cast perfectly!

Did You Ever Have A Family

Incredibly poignant story of a tragedy that changed lives and
an entire town forever. June Reid is out in the garden the morning destruction took place. She is saved by the mere technicality that she fell asleep in the wedding tent late the night before. Her feisty beloved daughter with her loving fiance, June's ex-husband and current lover are gone. All gone. So June decides to disappear as well. Off June goes in her car across the country, destination unknown, only her memories travel with her. And through these flashbacks June and a few others that are affected by this disaster, take a close look at where they have been and who they have been to themselves and those they love. This beautifully written story, a debut novel from Bill Clegg, is an incredibly thoughtful and thought provoking look into what we each want out of our lives, what makes us happy and what can happen when it is all taken away. It is sad - but it is sad from the beginning so its more about the journey rather than the characters that you don't know very well. Did You Ever Have A Family gives the reader a lot to contemplate and is an easy and poetic read about truth and our connection with each other as humans. Highly recommend my reader friends.