Gazing off the balcony at the perfectly clear blue sky above crashing waves, the Ross family seems picture perfect. Parents Bobby and Emma are stable, smart and still in madly love. Their beautiful twins Zoe and Lily are typical teens worried about friends and selfies. The Ross’s run and live in a successful, swanky hotel on Miami Beach. Life just couldn’t get any sweeter. At the girls 15th birthday party a nasty text message is sent, video attached. Emma accidentally overhears friends gossiping in the restroom and knows in that instant, their lives will never be the same again. Author Rochelle B. Weinstein takes us on a painful journey through one families struggle to admit the agonizing truth about their daughter and find their way to forgiveness. Narrated from Emma’s perspective Somebody’s Daughter takes on one of life’s most challenging issues of parenting; our children out in the world making mistakes - while the parents learn they can’t always protect them. My heart was immersed in these characters as they dealt with issues that hit way too close to home. This is the digitally raised generation and the simple life lessons we were once taught seem to have been deleted with the push of a button. Cyberbullying and Cyber Sexual Harassment have become epidemic and is never too many degrees from our lives, as our phones are never far from our fingers. Highly recommend this extraordinary, relevant, well written story of love, fear, family and trust. Almost too much to consider with all the “what if’s” spinning through my mind. A perfect book club selection with endless discussion possibilities. A must read.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
You write it, I’ll read it. Short stories are hard (for me) to read and even harder to review. If they are good, I get so caught up with the characters I am deeply disappointed when the story quickly ends. But that is also the lure, because I want more, so I keep going. Ten short stories by fabulous author Curtis Sittenfeld. She captures the essence of what is going on in the world that affects our daily choices, big and small. Love, friendship, gender, funny, sad, thoughtful. I absolutely loved her last two novels, love her exquisite writing that feels so true and relevant. Highly recommend this quick fix while I patiently wait for more.
There should be a warning label on this book that readers will not rise from their chair/couch/bed until they have finished the very last page of this mesmerizing, captivating, intimate novel about love. Lucy and Gabe met senior year at Columbia. There is an unexplainable attraction and chemistry that drags them through 13 years of imaginable love, pain and desire. They are friends, they are lovers. They are available. They are not available. They follow their own paths determined to fulfill their youthful expectations of changing/saving the world. Gabe becomes a photojournalist traveling to dangerous war zones. Lucy produces wonderful educational shows for children. She is a wife and adoring mother. Gabe is never far from her thoughts. No-one really understands the magnetism that draws them together over and over through the years, across all distances. Author Jill Santopolo’s writing is magnificent. She is quietly whispering their love story in your ear. The reader strains closer and closer to hear every word. It is hypnotic. All of the choices we make over a lifetime is part of the journey. Each one another step in only one direction, our future.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Amber and Tyler have been friends since childhood. They have trusted each other through difficult and dark times. Amber suffered a traumatic anorexic near death experience in high school and Tyler never left her side. Amber went away to college and struggled to rebuild her life. Happy, finally, she is engaged to a great guy and returns home after graduation for the summer. Tyler is a paramedic. He loves his job and is good at it. Tyler has been pining for Amber all these years and hopes this summer is his chance to win back her heart. An unexpected drunken incident at a party changes their world forever. Told in alternating voices, their lives are turned upside down. It makes sense to hear and feel both sides to the story from the beginning. What you see through your own eyes and memory may be completely different from the person right next you. I can appreciate this now looking back on the novel, I’d say it was well done, but I did not enjoy the read. Mostly because I really did not like the main character, Amber. Definitely look forward to reading more from author Amy Hatvany.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Kate and Ian are finally married, starting over, a new life with new names. Ian is still hacking away but started a new business with hopes that his dark enemies believe he is dead. Only Kate’s immediate family knows her location. They are young and in love and although Ian’s work has always kept him on the edge, his love and protection of Kate takes precedence. Kate starts to help with his new security company. She finds she is pretty good at this undercover detective work and naturally loves all the time she gets to spend with Ian. Unfortunately, the bad guys are still stalking them and there will never be a moments peace until they are caught. This exciting sequel to author Tracey Garvis Graves, 2015 hit Heart Shaped Hack was an excellent follow up and quick fun read. A mix of love, mystery and computer hacking - a good amount of suspense and romance. Highly recommend this read and all of this author’s books. I call them my fillers. Dependably enjoyable every time (I even read On the Island twice - and I NEVER do that!) Check them out! http://traceygarvisgraves.com/
Alicia is working at the movie theater candy counter in Hyannisport, MA. It is 1950 and this young, beautiful Polish woman has already lived a lifetime. Torn from her family, placed in a convent to hide from the Nazi’s, Alicia survived and made her way to America. She changes her name, her hair color and sets her sights on success. Hyannisport is synonymous with Kennedy and while working at the local movie theater meets non other than the very eligible, handsome senator Jack. Known as a ladies man he is instantly taken with this beauty and her European know how. Alicia is impassioned about art, literature, languages - her bright outlook and easygoing nature capture Jack’s attention and even that of his family, who naturally control every move he makes. They are briefly engaged, there may or may not have been a child. There is love, years of threats and a lifetime of regrets. Based on the captivating life of Alicia Corning Clark, who was married multiple times, ultimately widowed and left a very wealthy woman. She left some mystery behind, trailing the many theories regarding every Kennedy. I loved the history and secrets to which we will most likely never know the answers but I have to admit I felt like the writing was rushed. As much as I enjoyed the “story” the conversations and accents felt unnatural and forced. For me, this novel just didn’t flow.
When Maggie’s husband Adam walks out the door after 30 years of marriage it is a shock but may be a blessing in disguise. Adam is handsome, successful and an excellent father - but the passion has been missing for quite some time. Maggie regrets letting things go a little, especially in the intimacy department - that has all but disappeared after three decades as a homemaker and two of them laser focused solely on her children. Having never contemplated anything except a safe, dependable retirement, Maggie finds herself terrified of being alone for the first time. A natural worrier of all mishaps, Maggie had never contemplated life on her own, let alone getting back into the dating game. She long ago abandoned her career and her children have grown and flown. Maggie vaguely remembers her independent girl self from years ago, now she is determined to go and find her. Loved this easy read. I seem to be on a mid life (let’s leave out “crisis”) theme of books. Gee, wonder why. I liked author Camille Pagan's writing. Look forward to reading more of her work.
Memphis, 1939, a couple arrives at the hospital to deliver twins. They are told the twins did not survive. They do not quickly return home. Their five children waiting on the shanty boat are picked up and taken to an orphanage where they are told their parents will retrieve them. They are mistreated and names are quickly changed. Along with thousands of other children, they never see their parents again. Present day, Avery Stafford, a young lawyer in South Carolina is being groomed for her father’s position in politics. Her grandmother has just been admitted to a nursing home for dementia. Avery, who had always been especially close with Grandma Judy begins an investigation into her mysterious past and uncovers a connection between her and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage. Based on one of the largest, most hideous and devious scandals, this novel describes the kidnapping, bribery, abuse and mistreatment of children and their families ever to occur in the United States. Author Lisa Wingate magically weaves together these dual timelines, the characters come alive and the reader is crushed by this heartbreaking reality.
On a charming dead end street in Manhattan the residents walk their dogs, struggle to park and gossip. Nora’s love affair may be waning with her husband Charlie after more than two decades, but not with her beloved New York City. She runs the Museum of Jewelry for a wealthy socialite who is a bit off her rocker and has raised beautiful twins who are about to finish college and head out to make their way in the world. When the drama on the block hits an all time high so does Charlie’s mid life crisis. Dreaming of golf, and suburbs in the South, Nora and Charlie seem to be heading on two completely opposite trajectories. This pretty simple novel is a quick, pleasant read. Author Anna Quindlen develops the funniest characters and is an awesome storyteller and writer. Gotta love the New York wit and genuine panic that sets in near fifty, real enough to give you pause and absurd enough to be throughly entertaining.