Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Lori Gottlieb is a therapist living and working in Los Angeles, California. As a single mom with a busy practice, Lori takes pride in all her responsibilities and juggles her days with care. One day her world comes crashing down when her fiancĂ© unexpectedly ends their relationship. Lori’s future suddenly seems uncertain and the pain is affecting every aspect of her life. And then she finds Wendell, her new therapist. In this sudden roll reversal Lori is on the couch and hoping this stranger - who was strategically selected for age and maleness - will commiserate with her romantic loss and help justify her anger and resentment. But she couldn’t be more wrong. Wendell forces Lori to dig much deeper than she has ever gone before. Interspersed stories of her very personal journey with Wendell and a handful of her most unique patient relationships, Lori Gottlieb shares her innermost thoughts of her “therapist” and “therapy” experiences. Funny, smart and quick witted, Lori is a talented storyteller and clinician. This excellent, thought provoking read is an unputdownable therapy marathon, feels like I just finished a two day session! 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Grace After Henry

Grace begins to see Henry everywhere she turns. She either has a vivid imagination or is hallucinating because Henry unexpectedly died in a tragic accident only two months earlier. At times Grace feels like she can’t go on as everyone near and dear encourages her to find strength in the life Henry would have wanted. Some days she can barely eat a meal or get out of bed and Grace is terrified she may forget Henry’s essence. One day Andy, a handyman, comes to fix the apartment and he is the spitting image of Henry. As she begins to feel more and more connected to Andy, Grace questions the honesty of her desires. This very simple story tackles the most painful moments of a sudden loss and the guilt associated letting go of ones grief. Additional colorful characters are found in Grace’s best friend Aoife and her grumpy, well-meaning neighbor Betty. This simple, well written story was an enjoyable read. 

The Floating Feldmans

It’s Annette’s 70th birthday and even though her grown children live across the country and avoid almost every phone call, she insists they must be together for her big day. The (once) perfect daughter Elise and off-the-grid son Freddy submit to mom’s demand and they all meet up for a celebration cruise. Elises’s grown children tag along and her well meaning husband reveals his own hidden secret. Claustrophobic cruise ships filled with buffet lines and smiling staff who secretly want to strangle this bizarre demanding family made me sea sick without leaving the couch. Unfortunately, each and every character was so completely unlikeable and a little too over the top to be funny. The family shenanigans are endless and even though I wanted to like this book and it got so much hype, I was about to jump overboard.

High Achiever

Tiffany Jenkins is a drug addict. She lies, cheats and steals to maintain her addiction. Hurting every single person in her life, Tiffany has disappointed her family, friends and all but destroyed her boyfriend who happens to work in law enforcement. Like watching a train wreck, every move Tiffany makes is a painful bad decision and the reader cannot look away. Deep down inside, past her drug addiction one can glimpse a sweet, smart, caring young woman who has lost all self control to drugs. This fast paced, intense memoir documents her journey through her 6 months of incarceration in a Florida prison and flash backs of how she wound up there in the first place. Tiffany had some problems and issues growing up that can be attributed to addiction but it’s never just one thing. The sad fact is addiction will destroy your life. It is not something you can beat on your own and help is out there. You can only truly change if YOU want to. This honest glimpse into one addicts life leaves the reader with hope and an open heart. Addiction is more prevalent than some would like to believe and no-one is immune to it’s effects. Tiffany is now sober and helping others, sharing her story with the world. This brave memoir is a must read.

American Princess

The life and times of Alice Roosevelt is as mesmerizing as any political drama one can imagine! Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth was born in 1884. Theodore Roosevelt, her father, was devastated when his wife died just days after Alice was born. Unable to face his grief or look into those bluest of eyes, Theodore left Alice with a relative until he remarried a few years later. Off to a rough start, with future siblings much younger than herself, Alice became the rebel of the family. Pushing every rule, boundary and limitation, Alice raced through their White House years as a headline in every newspaper. Her natural intelligence, curiosity and burning desire to be of importance to her larger than life father, Alice educated herself with much more than dainty lady like manners. She became knowledgable, outspoken and well known in every political circle. Marrying a charming senator and living a fast paced D.C. life at the turn of the century provides endless entertainment for Alice, the American Princess of her time. This read prompted my own curiosity about the Roosevelts and the internet provided extensive detail and fascinating photographs of every character portrayed. Thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this well written fabulous novel by Stephanie Marie Thornton.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Bringing Down the Duke

Miss Annabelle Archer, country girl, daughter of a vicar is an orphan. She lives with her miserable cousin Gilbert and helps cares for his five children. As brilliant and fiercely independent as she is - women are not permitted to live alone nor determine their own destiny in 1879 England. Annabelle, completely overeducated by her father finds a place at Oxford alongside one of the very first group of women allowed to study there. She manipulates a scholarship in return for volunteering with the women’s suffrage group, protesting the women’s marital possession act and right to vote. Annabelle manages to infiltrate the highest political influencers by coercing an invitation to the Duke of Montgomery’s ball. A beautiful bluestocking, Annabelle raises quite a few eyebrows. She cares not for a suitor as much as someones ear to affect the parliament. Annabelle is shocked to find herself completely enthralled with the duke himself for she has never imagined a man existed with both dueling wits and breathtaking charm as Sebastian Devereux. This historical romance novel is filled with passion and perseverance, a wonderful read and superb debut by author Evie Dunmore. Lucky for us a sequel is in the works!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Wild Game

When Rennie Brodeur is 14 years old, her mother gently awakens her from a deep summertime sleep. Malabar tells her that their family friend, Ben Souther has kissed her and make no mistake, she kissed him back. Having already accepted her parents divorce, Malabar’s marriage to Charles and summers in Cape Cod, young Rennie is enamored with the idea of being her mother’s confidante. Sworn to secrecy she begins a ten year journey of deception, lies and convenient cover ups for Ben and Malabar’s illicit affair. As a young girl Rennie sees it as romantic, true love - something her mother desperately deserves. They are two halves of a whole, Malabar constantly reminds her. Rennie spends her younger years drowning in guilt but when high school ends her travels shine a different light on this suffocating secret. Rennie looks long and hard in the mirror and faces the burden of the baggage she has been carrying for a decade. This memoir is the story of a mother and daughter’s relationship pushed to every possible limit. It takes years for Rennie to discover the balance she must maintain to survive at all. Could not put down this mesmerizing and beautifully written memoir. An absolute must read!