Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekly Book Haul....September 17, 2017

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

It's finally cooling down, it's actually becoming enjoyable walking the dogs in the morning, instead of having to do it at 5am in the dark just so we don't disintegrate in the heat.

I've been binge watching You're The Worst on FX.  I'm not sure what made me decide to give it a try since it's currently on it's fourth season, but I've made it through three seasons in a week.  It's pretty raunchy but really funny.  The second season had some really touching episodes dealing with clinical depression and a soldier with PTSD.  It's really well written and the actors are great.  

Someone else said I should try The Strain, but it looks a little too scary for me.  I'm going to give it a try next, see if it's as good as they say.

I didn't add much to my TBR list this week, I've been too busy reading.  I'm nose deep in Pretty, Nasty, Lovely by Rosalind Noonan and it's really good.  

Between You and Me by Allison Winn Scotch.....From New York Times 
bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch comes an honest, touching, and funny exploration of falling in and out of love, told from two perspectives—one rewinding history, one moving it forward—and each with bias and regret.

When their paths first cross, Ben Livingston is a fledgling screenwriter on the brink of success; Tatum Connelly is a struggling actress tending bar in a New York City dive. They fall in love, they marry, they become parents, and they think only of the future. But as the years go by, Tatum’s stardom rises while Ben’s fades. In a marriage that bears the fallout of ambition and fame, Ben and Tatum are at a crossroads. Now all they can do is think back…
A life of passion, joy, tragedy, and loss—once shared—becomes one as shifting and unpredictable as a memory. As the pieces of their past come together, as they explore the ways love can bend and break, Ben and Tatum come to see how it all went wrong—and wonder what they can do now to make it all right.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller

What They Say......There’s only one place in the world that lonely twelve-year-old Walter Lavender Jr. feels at home: The Lavenders, his mother’s unusual West Village dessert shop, where meringues scud through displays like clouds, marzipan dragons breathe actual fire, and the airy angel food cake can make customers pounds lighter.

When the mysterious and magical Book at the heart of the shop vanishes and a landlord threatens closure, it’s up to Walter to find the Book and save the shop. Despite—or because of—a communication disorder that renders him speechless and friendless, Walter has a special ability to find lost things. In fact, the only thing he’s failed to find is his father, a pilot lost in a presumed plane crash at sea before Walter was born.

Accompanied by Milton, his best friend and overweight golden retriever, Walter’s quest will take him around and under New York City, into subway tunnels and soaring over Central Park, from bottle collecting in Chinatown to racing through the Met, and introduce him to the extraordinary and forgotten people of this fantastical city. Along the way he will discover his voice and learn what it means to truly be found.

What I Say.....I love magical realism, it's one of my favorite genres.  And not enough people write it - lots of people do realistic fiction, and lots of people do fantasy, but to do the balance of magical realism is tough.  But I'm always willing to give a new to me author a try!

So when I saw The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller, I was excited to read it.  Walter Lavender is a shy, lonely boy.  He lives with his mother, and spends his time away from school at their bakery, where the baked goods have a life of their own.  The Book that gives the bakery it's power is stolen by a greedy new landlord, and all of the baked goods are suddenly just normal baked goods.  Without the magic, business quickly dries up.

Walter doesn't speak much, and he doesn't have any friends except for his dog, Milton.  But what he does have is a talent for helping people find lost things.  Walter's love for his mother and the family they have made for themselves lead him to set out on a journey to recover the book.

Along the way he meets so many different people.. People who are homeless, people who have created world in subway tunnels, and most difficult for him, a girl his own age.

As Walter navigates the outside world (worrying his mother to death), he gains his voice, and his strength.  All of the people that he meets are damaged a little in some way, the same as him.  And in this, he is found.

I loved this book!  I held my breath a little when he was in the subway - I was so sure he was going to be kidnapped!  And I was so frustrated when he kept finding the book in pieces.  The thought of pages being ripped out of a magic book made me ill.  But after I finished it, I realized the best books are the ones that truly make you feel uncomfortable emotions.  It means you are really invested in the story.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....September 10, 2017

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

Fall is here.  I spent last week back in Illinois, visiting family and friends, so I got a fast week of cool fall weather.  But being Illinois, you can feel hot and cold at the same time.  It's the awful, awful humidity.

But now I'm home - today may be the last day of pool weather here, it's only going to be 102.  Once it goes under mid-80's at night, the water cools off too fast for me.

But while I was on vacation, I read, read, read.  And it was wonderful!  One of the books I sped through was A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner, and it was so good!!  I had it on my Kindle for a while, and kept pushing it back and now I'm sorry!

Today marks the return of football, Go Bears, so I'm looking forward to an awesome Sunday of football, books and maybe a little swimming.

Here's what I've added.

Pretty, Nasty, Lovely by Rosalind Noonan.....Sisterhood has a price . . .

Pledging to Theta Pi at Merriwether University seemed to offer Emma Danelski a passport to friendship, fun, and popularity. But the excitement of pledge training quickly fades, as does the warmth of her so-called sisters. What’s left is a stifling society filled with petty rules, bullying, and manipulation. Most haunting are the choices Emma makes in the wake of another sorority sister’s suicide . . .

It doesn’t matter that no one else needs to know what Emma did, or how vastly different life at Theta House is from the glossy image it projects. Emma knows. And now, with her loyalties tested, she must decide which secrets are worth keeping and how far she’ll go to protect them—and herself . . .

Virtually Perfect by Paige Roberts....Not so long ago, Lizzie Glass had a
successful TV show, a cookbook deal, and a social diary crammed with parties and events. But fame doesn’t stay fresh for long. Her show fizzles, her magazine column is canceled, and Lizzie’s only option is a summer job as personal chef to the Silvesters, a wealthy and eccentric family.

Their beach house is a lavish, beautifully decorated palace on the Jersey Shore, and Lizzie gets to work catering to Kathryn and Jim Silvester’s fashionably restrictive diets. But it’s their 
twenty-something daughter who presents Lizzie with her biggest challenge—professionally and personally. A self-proclaimed “wellness warrior,” Zoe Silvester has a hugely popular website and app that promotes healthy living and organic, unprocessed foods. Yet Lizzie soon realizes that The Clean Life site has a dirty little secret. In fact, Zoe’s entire online persona is based on a dangerous hoax that runs deep and will damage lives. Exposing Zoe won’t just jeopardize Lizzie’s job and a promising new relationship—it may expose the cracks in her own past.

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser.....When a group of neighborhood
women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.
By Monday morning, one of them is gone.
Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.
As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

Christmas at Mistletoe Cover by Holly Martin.....Growing up on Hope
Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea. 

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…
This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?

We'll Always Have Christmas by Jenny Hale.....An enchanting story about
the magic of Christmas, the importance of family, and the joy of falling in love during the most romantic season of the year…

Christmas has always been a special time for Noelle Parker. Winter evenings spent with family and friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies at her family’s cozy bakery have shaped her love for all things festive. But this year everything is changing…

The beloved bakery is facing closure and Noelle needs a miracle to save Christmas.

Determined to raise funds for the family business, Noelle sets about revamping the bakery while juggling a surprise new job, caring for the elderly and cantankerous William Harrington in his luxurious, sprawling mansion.

As Noelle melts the frostiness of the house with cake baking, snowball fights and glittering decorations, she helps William to reconnect with a romance that has spanned decades and unexpectedly finds herself falling for his grandson - the gorgeous but mysterious Alexander Harrington

In the countdown to Christmas, can Noelle save the bakery, reunite a family andcreate some magical memories of her own along the way?

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

What They Say.....Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.

Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.

Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.

What I Say.....Back to school is a busy time for moms who still have kids at home, but it's a life changing time for moms who are sending their youngest (or only) child off to school and returning home to their empty nest.  

Eve is sending her son, Brendan, off to university.  She's anxious and clinging, but to a kid who won't even look at her, much less speak to her.  

Brendan meanwhile is finding his acclimation to college to be a little more difficult than he thought.  His roommate is a party boy, almost too wild for Brendan.  Then he meets a girl who thinks he is someone that he isn't - a sensitive guy.

Meanwhile, Eve has enrolled in a Gender studies class and is making new friends - but also watching a lot of porn.  The problem is when she mistakes her online movies for real life situations, getting herself into weird and awkward situations.

It was an interesting read, but I didn't find Eve's story to feel very authentic.  It felt like a bit of a reach that an ordinary, suburban mom would go so wild in such a short amount of time.

But what happens when Brendan gets himself in trouble and Eve's empty nest is full again?  

Current Goodreads Rating 3.52

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