Sunday, July 28, 2013

Beautiful Day

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

Wedded bliss
Happily ever after
A vision in white

Not necessarily....

Jenna Carmichael and Stuart Graham are getting married on the beautiful island of Nantucket. Her late mother, Beth, has left behind the Notebook, a detailed guide to the perfect wedding.  Little did Beth know that scandel, heartaches, betrayals,and fragile friendships would threaten to destroy Jenna's ideal wedding.

Doug, the bride's father, is seriously questioning his second marriage, sister Margot no longer believes in finding true love and harbors a secret she lives with daily, Ryan longs for acceptance and Nick continues  reckless behavior that could destroy those around him. Stuart's mother, married to the same man twice, still struggles with her own identity;  her insecurities once again surface. Jenna's best friend, Finn, spirals into a dark hole that emcompasses her. 

Hilderbrand has written a page-turning summer read.  The setting of Nantucket (her home) lends itself beautifully for a fairytale wedding. Those of you planning a wedding may relate to the frenzy that these characters encounter, although I doubt you have this much drama. Everyone has flaws-the question is, can love of family be strong enough to heal old wounds? Can a mother's presence, long after she is gone, unite a divided family?  This is an engaging story, expertly told which will hold your interest and might have you planning a trip to a magical location. Once again, this author delivers...

Ah, wedded bliss.....    

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Perfume Collector

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

Le droit de choisir....the right to choose

Young newlywed Grace Monroe has it all-or does she?  She is now a London socialite, having married into a life of wealth and decadence.  However, her sheltered upbringing triggers feelings of awkwardness and the inability to feel at ease in her new surroundings. Playing the role which is now expected of her may prove to be unattainable.

Unexpectedly, a most mysterious letter arrives from France.  Grace has inherited a great deal of money and property from a complete stranger, a Madame Eva d'Orsey. So begins her journey to France to uncover this  unknown benefactor. Many events weave themselves into the heart of this story. Grace's uncanny ability    with numbers takes her into the world of heavy gambling.  She meets brooding, dark people who lead her to new discoveries about the true identity of Eva. Her search takes her to an abandoned perfume factory on the Left Bank and slowly, pieces to the puzzle are revealed.

The chapters alternate between the 1920s and the 1950s-New York, London, Paris and Monte Carlo. Great, descriptive passages of the war years. The author expertly and cleverly relates the two main characters over the span of thirty years. And the reader experiences the world of creating seductive scents...

Heartbreak, hope, sacrifice, love. Grace decides the life she truly wants to lead.

Le droit de choisir....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Second Honeymoon

Second Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Some things you can count on...

Hot, hazy, dog days of summer....
Precious minutes of daylight disappearing as summer slips into fall....
James Patterson releasing another thriller....

Someone is targeting honeymoon couples-murdering them in the blink of an eye. A relaxing visit to a luxurious hotel sauna, then boarding a flight to Rome for an unforgettable vacation-both events prove to be deadly for innocent victims.  FBI agent John O'Hara becomes deeply involved in the case when a wealthy, desperate man asks him to find the answers to his son and daughter-in-law's murders. John can only hope the case will help to heal the pain in his heart and the revenge he feels after the tragic death of his own wife.

Meanwhile, another serial killer is at work and Special Agent Sarah Brubaker is hunting for the answers to this perplexing case. A common thread might just lie in something as simple as a name. John and Sarah must now join forces to solve two mysteries developing at the same time and in the process, unearth hidden secrets from long ago. They must somehow piece together a puzzle and interpret the killer's clues.

Fast-paced, surprising, exciting, suspenseful. The merging of two story lines may be a little confusing, but fun just the same. And the mention of Dublin, Ohio in the plot?  Just a bonus I guess!

Enjoy this latest summer read by Patterson and one of his many co-authors.

Some things you can count on...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

She says there is an ocean at the end of the lane behind the old farmhouse.  He thinks this notion is just plain silly-looks to him  like a small pond where ducks gather to swim.  After reading 178 pages of this mysterious,  thought-provoking novel, you decide.....

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood surroundings to attend a funeral. After the service, he finds himself driving the country roads of Sussex, England inexplicably searching for the past. He eventually finds himself at the dilapidated  Lempstock farmhouse, and memories flood his mind.

He is only seven, a quirky child, lover of books, cats, and rainy days. Financial woes force the family to move again and accept boarders to rent a room upstairs. One such gentleman steals the family car and takes his own life "at the end of the lane." This one incident introduces the boy  to a most remarkable young girl named Lettie, her mother and grandmother. But they are not of this world. They valiantly protect him from a series of dark, scary events which begin to enfold. The reader is taken into a magical world of ghosts, mythical creatures, and sheer fantasy. Yet it is also a story of survival. If we truly believe in good versus evil, can one girl's friendship and love for a small, frightened boy be enough to save his life? What magical qualities lie beneath the waters of the "ocean"?

Grim, terrifying, peculiar. Certainly this short novel is not for everyone, but if you want to read a book out of your comfort zone, try this one.

Sweet dreams.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Looking For Me

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

Sometimes we do judge a book by its cover-or, as we are browsing through the library, the book jacket of an intriguing novel catches our attention. Happy to say I  found this endearing story worth the effort. The heartwarming characters will stay with you long after completion-a little bit of all of us in each one.

Teddi Overman lives in rural Kentucky on the family farm with her parents and brother, Josh. At the age of eighteen, Terri grows restless, and a chance encounter with an elderly gentleman convinces her to leave home for a new life in Charleston, S.C. After leaving goodbye notes for the family, she sets her sights on a most unlikely career, never fully realizing the pain left behind. Yet fond memories cloud Teddi's mind and upon returning for a visit, she finally  grasps her mother's discontent for life and begins to understand her father's past. Brother Josh, a wildlife enthusiast, has taken on almost mystical qualities as if he is part of a new universe. His mysterious disappearance sets the stage for a series of events that will keep the reader guessing. Teddi's many quirky friends and her eventual success as an antiques shop owner, never fully erase the loss of her beloved brother. Unanswered questions remain-clues that he is possibly still alive force Teddi to find the truth.

This book takes the reader on a wonderful journey and is a pleasure to read. Perhaps shattered families can be healed if we decide what is truly important and what we can leave behind. Dreams can never be fulfilled if we don't try. True friendships don't come easily. And in the end, never give up hope...