Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

First line: They used to be called the Firefly Lane girls.

Why I read this: I picked this up at a book sale last year after not having read anything by this author in a while.

From the back cover: In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

My thoughts: I haven't read a Kristin Hannah book in a while and I'm not sure why because I always love her books and this one was no exception.
It is a touching, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the great strength in their lives and it also takes a look at other relationships including mother-daughter and wife-husband that are equally complex and fascinating.

Firefly Lane is the story of TullyandKate. Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey become friends in 1974 when they are both 14-year-old girls in Washington State. Their friendship weathers the changes of fashions, careers, children, and miles as they grow up, apart and together. Tully is the daughter of a drug addicted hippie who wanders in and out of her life. Kate is grounded by her strong Irish Catholic family, and each envies the others' lifestyle. Tully provides Kate with a much needed makeover, and Kate gives Tully a family and direction in her life.

Emotional and touching, Kristin Hannah writes from the heart. Hurt, laughter, anger, jealousy, heartache, and love abound in this story. This was definitely one of those books I didn't want to end. While the last part of the book is very emotional - have some tissues handy - it leaves you feeling happy to have met these women and shared in their life journey. I will definitely be picking up more of Kristin Hannah's books.

(I purchased this book.)

The James Patterson Reading Challenge II Wrap Up Post



The James Patterson Reading Challenge II
 

Timeline: 01 Sep 2010 - 31 Aug 2011 
 
 
I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish this challenge as I was one book short as of Sunday, August 28. Luckily the newest book was released (Kill Me If You Can) on Tuesday and I ran to the store to pick it up and ended up devouring it that afternoon.

 
Here is what I read for this challenge along with links to the reviews ( the review for Kill Me If You Can will be linked to this post as soon as I post it):
 
1. The Postcard Killers (read Sept. 2010)
2. Don't Blink (read Oct. 2010)
3. Honeymoon (read Nov. 2010)
4. Cross Fire (read Nov. 2010)
5. The Beach House (read Jan 2011)
6. Tick Tock (read Jan 2011)
7. 10th Anniversary (read May 2011)
8. Now You See Her (read July 2011)
9. You've Been Warned (read July 2011)
10. Kill Me If You Can (read August 2011)

 
I had a lot of fun participating in this challenge. I was able to pick up some of his older books that I somehow managed to miss as well as read the ones released during the past twelve months. Thanks to Yvonne for hosting this challenge!

Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

First line: Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the grease joint: Grady, me and the fry cook.

Why I read this: This was my book club book for July.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

My thoughts: A few years ago, a friend gave me this book and it just ended up sitting on my bookshelf. I never got around to reading it and as I was packing up to move, I came across the book and gave it back. Then, my book club decided to read it and even though I wasn't able to make the meeting for this book, I still made a point to read it...and I loved it!!!

Water for Elephants is told in the first person but from two different perspectives - Jacob Jankowski at 23 years of age and Jacob at 93 years old. Sara Gruen seamlessly weaves the chapters between past and present. Jacob at 23 is finishing up his last semester at Cornell Veterinary School when a family tragedy causes him to flee. He finds himself on a train for the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth in 1931. Needing a vet, the circus hires young Jacob to tend to their menagerie. Jacob at 93 resides in a nursing home where he laments the curses of old age, the passing of his wife, and the waning affection of his family. The arrival of a visiting circus triggers a flashback to his youthful circus experiences.

The story of his incredible life and adventures with the Benzini Brothers circus unfold in a way that is emotionally wrenching, yet there are flashes of good humor throughout. The characters are richly drawn, and even the animals are given complex personalities that make them a pivotal part of the story. There is something in this novel for everyone: it is equal parts adventure, mystery, fictional memoir, love story, and historical account. According to the author's note at the end of the book, many of the compelling anecdotes in the story were based upon real events, culled from the diaries and personal histories of old-time circus performers. As a result, Water for Elephants is a novel that boasts the rare combination of being both entertaining and informative.

Now the question is do I go see the movie or not? The previews that I have seen look great but will the movie take away from the book which I thought was excellent? Did anyone go see the movie and if so, what are your thoughts?

(I purchased this book.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (8.29.11)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

So I was doing really well with getting caught up with some reviews last week until Wednesday when we realized the Hurricane Irene was going to be a real threat to us over the weekend and we were heading up to New Hampshire (from NY) for my brother's wedding. The last part of the week until we left on Friday was devoted to getting things ready that we would need in case we were without power and making sure everything in the house was secure. We got back to NY late Saturday night - just hit rain all the way home. We lost power early Sunday morning only to have it come back on five hours later. And then it went out again around 4 pm and it didn't come back on until 2:30 pm this afternoon - that's almost 24 hours without power. I am so glad hubby got a generator on Thursday - even though it was quite expensive, we definitely got our money out of it! Needless to say, there wasn't a lot of reading to be done last week, but I did manage to catch up a little bit yesterday and today.

Books Completed last week:
  • NONE  :-(
Reading Now:
  • Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson (mine)
  • The Island by Elin Hilderbrand (library audio book)
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (book club book, mine)
Next:
  • The King's Daughter by Barbara Kyle (mine)
  • The Queen's Captive by Barbara Kyle (mine)
  • The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle (review book)
  • Hide by Lisa Gardner (library audio book)
Reviews completed this past week
Other Posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  • Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Dead Men Don't Crochet by Betty Hechtman
  • Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook
  • The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Rescue by Anita Shreve
  • Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger
Contest information:
  • None right now - but I'm working on a new monthly giveaway that I am hoping to start next month.

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

In My Mailbox (63) 8.28.11

***I'm posting this a little late due to power loss from Hurricane Irene.
 
In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.



From the library:


Hide (audio)
by Lisa Gardner

I have reviewed the latest two (#4 and #5) in Lisa Gardner's Dectective DD Warren series and decided to go back and read the first three. This one is #2 and I'm excited to try the audio of it!


 
 
 
The Year of Pleasures (audio)
by Elizabeth Berg

I really enjoy Elizabeth Berg's work and am slowly working my way through her past books.






What's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Midnight Angel by Carly Phillips (e-book)

First line: Dylan North walked down the streets of Acton, savoring the familiar sights.

Why I read this: This is one of Carly Phillips earlier works and when I saw that it was available for my Nook, I jumped on it.

Synopsis from Goodreads: You never forget your first love ...

High school sweethearts, Dylan North and Holly Evans believed their future together was a done deal. But right after graduation, Dylan took off, leaving nothing behind except a hastily written note and Holly's broken heart. Ten years later, Dr. Holly Evans has a great career and a fulfilling life. The last thing she needs is Dylan coming back and stirring up old feelings.

Now Dylan is a Hollywood superstar but one thing is missing - and that's Holly. Can he correct his past mistakes and win her back or does happily ever after only happen in the movies?

My thoughts:  This was a fun read about first and last love. It is a poignant tale of former lovers whose love was torn apart just as they were beginning a life together. When Holly and Dylan's paths cross again later in life, Holly isn’t interested at first in renewing a relationship with Dylan, but one look at him makes her reconsider. Dylan never forgot Holly and now he needs to convince her that breaking it off when he did all those years ago was for the best. This tale makes you recall your own childhood romances and wonder what could happen if they had a second chance. Will Dylan and Holly work out the intricate part of their relationship and embark on a life together? A heartwarming tale that might even cause a few tears. 

(I purchased this e-book.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: You've Been Warned by James Patterson

First line: It's way too early in the morning for dead people.

Why I read this: It's a James Patterson book that I somehow missed when it came out.

From the inside cover:
YOU'VE BEEN NICE, VERY NICE
Kristin Burns has lived her life by the philosophy "Don't think, just shoot" - pictures, that is. Struggling to make ends meet, she works full-time as the nanny for the fabulously wealthy Turnbull family, looking after their two wonderful children and waiting for her glamorous life as a New York photographer to begin. When her photographs are considered by an elite Manhattan art gallery, it seems she might finally get the chance that will start her career.

YOU'VE BEEN NAUGHTY, VERY NAUGHTY
But Kristin has a major distraction: forbidden love. The man of her dreams is almost hers for keeps. Breathless with an inexhaustible passion and the excitement of being within reach of her goals, Kristin ignores all signs of catastrophes brewing.

NOW YOU'VE BEEN WARNED
Fear exists for a reason. And Kristin can dismiss the warnings for just so long. Searching desperately for the truth through the lens of her camera, she can only hope that it's not too late. This novel of psychological suspense is a stunning new achievement for thriller master James Patterson, "one of the bestselling writers in history."

My thoughts: As with most authors, there are bound to be some books they write that just don't grab you the way their others do. I found that to be the case with this book. I didn't hate the book, but I didn't love it either - it was just o-kay.  You've Been Warned is an interesting mix of the bizarre, the supernatural, and suspense and it's this combination that is keeping me from loving it as I am not a fan of the supernatural. 

This story, with it's fast-moving thrills & chill, holds a great moral sub-plot. It's a good lesson to many of us, as we seem to ignore many "warnings" that are right before our eyes. It also makes you think about choices in your own life and think twice about the outcomes.  As is typical with James Patteron, we have the fast-paced chapters with a cliff hanger at the end of almost every one of them. Kristin Burns is an up-and-coming photographer living in New York City.  In order to support herself until she makes it big with the photography, she works as a nanny for the two children of Michael and Penley Turnbull. She's also carrying on a steamy affair with Michael Turnbull and is waiting for the day he will leave his wife for her. On her way to work one morning she walks past a hotel and sees four gurneys, each holding a dead body, however, in one of the body bags it appears that the inhabitant is alive, at least to Kristin. She took some pictures at the scene and when she developed them in her dark room she discovered an interesting little detail, one she could not ignore. Strange things start occurring to her and she finds herself scared and not sure who to turn to or what's real and what's just in her head.

As I was reading this, I found I couldn't put it down because I had to know how it all ended and I'm glad I did as there were quite a few twists and turns thrown in.

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (8.22.11)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Time for reading didn't seem to be on my side last week...between going back to work and then making sure all the details were set for my sister's bridal shower this past weekend, I was crazy busy. I am hoping for a slower week coming up, but not really holding my breath on that as I have my brother's wedding this weekend. At least I am getting to see lots of my family!!!

Books Completed last week:
  • The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand (library book)
  • The Rescue by Anita Shreve (library audio book) 
  • Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger (review book)
Reading Now:
  • The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle (mine)
  • The Island by Elin Hilderbrand (library audio book)
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (book club book, mine)
Next:
  • The King's Daughter by Barbara Kyle (mine)
  • The Queen's Captive by Barbara Kyle (mine)
  • The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle (review book)
Reviews completed this past week
Other Posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Midnight Angel by Carly Phillips
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • You've Been Warned by James Patterson 
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  • Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Dead Men Don't Crochet by Betty Hechtman
  • Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook
  • The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Rescue by Anita Shreve
  • Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger
Contest information:
  • None right now

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox (62) 8.21.11

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.



From the library:


The Island (audio)
by Elin Hilderbrand

I love Elin Hilderbrand's books and somehow I missed this one when I first started reading her.






What's in your mailbox?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (e-book)

First line: The thing about lying to your parents is, you have to do it to protect them.

Why I read this: I've read all the Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella and when I saw that this one was available for my Nook, I decided to give it a try.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie–a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance–mysteriously appears, she has one last request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, and Sadie cannot rest without it. Lara, on the other hand, has a number of ongoing distractions. Her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, her start-up company is floundering, and she’s just been dumped by the “perfect” man.

Sadie, however, could care less.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from each other along the way. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family.

My thoughts:  This was a fun, quick read that I really enjoyed. It's the first non-Shopaholic book I've read by Sophie Kinsella. Twenties Girl is the story of Lara Lington and her great-aunt Sadie. The catch -  Sadie is a ghost, and Lara barely knew her in life. Through Sadie's persistent haunting, Lara gets to know her - and in the process, learns quite a lot about herself. While I don't normally read anything having to do with the paranormal, I picked this one up because of the author and the fun cover.

While attending the funeral of her great aunt Sadie, the spirit of the aunt begins to haunt Lara, demanding she find some way to stop the funeral and help Sadie get back a necklace that means a great deal to her. In doing this, Lara discovers some shocking secrets about her family. Along the way, Lara meets a handsome American and finds out her best friend a business partner is a total fraud. While searching for the necklace, Lara learns just what a fascinating person her great aunt was, and learns how she wants to live. Sadie teaches Lara about relationships, having fun, and moving on. In the process, she leads Lara to step beyond her boundaries and live a more fulfilled life.

Sophie Kinsella really creates a vivid world for the reader to enter. I could visualize the dresses and the jewelry that Sadie talks about and could see her twirling around the dance floor. Having enjoyed this one so much, I think I might now go pick up some of Sophie Kinsella's other non-Shopaholic books!

(I purchased this e-book.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: Perfect Partners by Carly Phillips (e-book)

First line: "I've reached a decision."

Why I read this: This is one of Carly Phillips earlier works and when I saw that it was available for my Nook, I jumped on it.

Synopsis from Goodreads: No sooner had Chelsie Russell and Griffin Stuart lost their siblings in a car crash than they find themselves fighting for custody of their two year old niece. Griff wins only to discover Chelsie is the only one who can soothe the child's night terrors and fears.  Chelsie and Griff bond over the little girl and their growing sexual desire is mutual.  But is it enough? Chelsie's been hurt before and Griff isn't sure he can trust the woman who once tried to take his niece away.  What will it take for them to realize they are ... perfect partners?

My thoughts:  This was a fun, sexy story by Carly Phillips, who is always good for a hot, steamy read, and this one didn't disappoint. Attorneys Chelsie Russell and Griff Stuart need niece Alix in their lives. Chelsie is determined not to lose her dead sister's little girl, but she fears the emotional loss when her help is no longer needed. Griff is determined to be the parent Alix needs, but he soon find out he needs Chelsie, too. If only things were easy. Both Chelsie and Griff come from rough childhoods and backgrounds. Chelsie isn't close with her parents and she eventually pulled away from her sister. She was also married to a man who abused her and left her emotionally scarred and unable to have a baby. When Griff was 12 years old, his mother walked out on the family wanting more material things. His father was working full time and having a hard time adjusting to being a single father. In turn, Griff took over to help raise his younger brother. Griff's last girlfriend left him because she wanted the material things just like his mother had. Can these two figure out their differences and overcome their past to work towards a future? Carly Phillips uses just the right amount of romance and sexual tension to make this a great read.

(I purchased this e-book.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: The Diva Cooks a Goose by Krista Davis (e-book)

First line: Dear Sophie, I nearly canceled Christmas last year when my children found their presents.

Why I read this: I love Krista Davis's Domestic  Diva series and I am using this to count towards the Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge

Synopsis from Goodreads: A Scrooge steals presents right from under Sophie Winston's family Christmas tree. Then her sister-in-law's father show's up with a diva girlfriend just a month after his separation. More than one person is thinking of committing a merry murder-until it actually happens! With many under suspicion for the deadly deed, can Sophie find the murderer and restore the Christmas spirit before it's too late?

My thoughts: This is the fourth book in Krista Davis's domestic diva series and I loved it. It was a quick, easy read that centers around the holiday season. First someone steals all the Christmas gifts and even the food in Sophie's brother's neighborhood. Then the home organizer extraordinaire is found dead after a music box releases a combination of deadly gasses. But it's hard to tell if she was the intended victim - with all the re-gifting going on. Because Sophie's sister-in-law's sister is on the suspect list for the murder, Sophie steps in to do some sleuthing on her own. She's also trying to figure out what happened to all the stolen gifts.

I really enjoy how these books tend to have multiple mysteries going on that inevitably tie together in some unexpected and entertaining way. I also love all Dear Sophie and Dear Natasha tidbits that are given at the beginning of each chapter - and if you pay attention to these tips, they hint at something that will come up in the chapter. Some of these hints are definitely going in my "After-thoughts" notebook I started to keep track of different ideas/tips I've thought of/come across for the different things I do. I've read all the books in this series and can't wait for the next one to come out!

(I purchased this e-book.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (8.15.11)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

It's back to work for me this week, and we are in the middle of a training session, so my reading time will be limited. I still have quite a few reviews to finish up and schedule for posting, so that is probably where my priority will lie for the week as time permits. 

Books Completed last week:
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (mine)
  • Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand (audio book, mine)
  • Dead Men Don't Crochet by Betty Hechtman (mine)
  • Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook (library book)
Reading Now:
  • The Love Season by Elin  Hilderbrand (library book)
  • Rescue by Anita Shreve (library audio book)
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (book club book, mine)
Next:
  • Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger (review)
  • The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle (mine)
Reviews completed this past week
Other Posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • The Diva Cooks a Goose by Krista Davis
  • Perfect Partners by Carly Phillips
  • Midnight Angel by Carly Phillips
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
  • You've Been Warned by James Patterson 
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  • Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Dead Men Don't Crochet by Betty Hechtman
  • Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook
Contest information:
  • None right now

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center

First line: The end began with a plane crash.

Why I read this: I had picked this up at a book sale last year after reading a few other books by Katherine Center and am also using this book to count towards the Reading From My Shelves Project.

From the back cover: Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is exactly what you've been waiting for.

Very pregnant and not quite married, Jenny Harris doesn't mind that she and her live-in fiance, Dean, accidentally started their family a little earlier than planned. But Dean is acting distant, and the night he runs out for cigarettes and doesn't come back, he demotes himself from future husband to sperm donor.

And the very next day, Jenny goes into labor.

In the months that follow, Jenny plunges into a life she never anticipated: single motherhood. At least with the sleep deprivation, sore boobs, and fits of crying (both hers and the baby's), there's not much time to dwell on her broken heart. And things are looking up: Jenny learns how to do everything one-handed, makes friends in a mommy group, and even gets to know a handsome, helpful neighbor. But Dean is never far from Jenny's thoughts or, it turns out, her doorstep, and in the end she must choose between the old life she thought she wanted and the new life she's been lucky to find.

My thoughts: I have read a few books by Katherine Center before and was excited to pick this one up at a book sale. I really enjoyed it. While one of the main themes of the book is about being a new, single Mom, that's not the only one. Interwoven into the storyline we see relationships of every type - family, love and friendship. 

This story rings of truth as Jenny Harris, a spunky modern young woman, finds herself overwhelmed by unwanted events cascading down upon her. The characters are well developed and appealing, and the story unfolds with warmth and great humor. At times, I found myself actually laughing out loud. Jenny is a survivor and you will be cheering for her as she copes. Author Katherine Center teaches us that it's okay to have a baby and fall in love in whatever combination and whatever order suits you.  

(I purchased this book.)

In My Mailbox (62) 8.14.11

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.



For Review:


Darkness, My Old Friend
by Lisa Unger

I read Fragile last year and really enjoyed it - looking forward to starting this one.





 
 
 
From the Library:
 

Best Staged Plans
by Claire Cook
 
Claire Cook is one of my favorite authors and this book finally came in at the library.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Purchased:
 

A Sheetcake Named Desire
by Jacklyn Brady
 
This is the first in the new "A Piece of Cake Mystery" series...it sounds delectible!!!


 






What's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews

First line: Mary Bliss McGowan and Katherine Weidman had reached a point in the evening from whence there was no return.

Why I read this: I picked this up at a library book sale and it's been sitting on my shelf for a while - I was in the mood for a quick, fun read and this definitely was that and a whole lot more. I am also using this book to counts towards the Reading From My Shelves Project.

From the back cover: In a suburban Atlanta neighborhood where divorce is as rampant as kudzu, Mary Bliss McGowan doesn't notice that her own marriage is in trouble until the summer night she finds a note from her husband, Parker, telling her he's gone - and has taken the family fortune with him.

Stunned and humiliated, a desperate Mary Bliss, left behind with her seventeen-year-old daughter, Erin, and a mountain of debt, decides to savage what's left of her life by telling one little bitty lie...that starts to snowball until Parker turns up dead. Or does he?

Little Bitty Lies is a comic Southern novel not only about one woman's lifelong quest for home but also about all the important things in life: marriage and divorce, mothers and daughters, friendship and betrayal, small-town secrets - and the perfect recipe for children salad.

My thoughts: This is the first book I have read by Mary Kaye Andrews and I thought it was quite a funny, delightful read. Little Bitty Lies is about Mary Bliss McGowan, a Georgia teacher who suddenly, with no warning, finds herself husbandless and penniless. Her hysterical best friend, Katherine, is going through a divorce and going through her husband's money and gin like it's her job, and the two band together to try to solve their problems.

While busy worrying about her friends, whose marriages are falling apart, Mary Bliss is stunned to find out that her own marriage has taken an unbelievable turn when she discovers a note from her husband. Mary Bliss attempts to avoid the embarrassment and humiliation by telling just one "little" lie, which snowballs into a series of events that must all be hidden by more lies. On top of having no money to pay her bills and taking a part time job just to buy food, she must deal with a cantankerous, nasty mother-in-law and the sudden secretive behavior of her teen-aged daughter. 

An endearing tale dealing with serious issues and yet woven with her delightful sense of humor, Little Bitty Lies is the perfect beach read and I am looking forward to reading more by this author!

(I purchased this book.) 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Review: Killer Dreams by Iris Johansen (audio book)

From the back of the audio case: #1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen returns with a new suspense thriller guaranteed to keep listeners up all night long - an adrenaline-laced shocker that pits a mother and son against a killer who's the stuff of nightmares.

Someone is watching. He's a shadowy figure from out of her darkest fears, and he hasn't forgotten her. In one shocking moment of violence, he'd shattered Sophie's world forever. But the nightmare isn't over. Sophie was supposed to die the first time around, but fate intervened. This time he'll make sure that not even a miracle will have her.

Matt Royd is a wild card - hard, cool, merciless - and the man chosen to protect Sophie. She will have to trust Royd because she has not choices left. Because the bogeyman haunting her dreams is all too real and he's on the hunt again. Because the nightmare he's got planned for Sophie won't end when she wakes up screaming. It won't end. Ever.

Read by: Jennifer Van Dyck

My thoughts: Somehow I missed this story when it first came out so when I saw the audio version at the library, I had to get it. Right from the prologue of the story, Iris Johansen hooks you and keeps you captivated til the very end.

The story starts two years in the past. Sophie Dunston works for a pharmaceutical company doing research. She is a sleep therapist, looking for cures for night terrors, is married to a lawyer, and has an 8 year old son, Michael. She is with her dad having watched him fish and are joining her mom and son for lunch when literally all hell breaks loose!

The story then jumps forward to now as Sophie works at a university hospital helping monitor and take care of patients, especially children, with severe night terrors and sleep. She also has a secret agenda: to kill the CEO of her former employer, a man by the name of Sanborne. He took the work she did developing a chemical called REM-4 that was supposed to control and eliminate night terrors and started using it to mind control ex-military and criminals. Sophie befriends Jock Gavin, a young man who was put under control with REM-4, and he trains her in unarmed and armed combat. He also gets Matt Royd to help, another victim of REM-4.

With the help of some familiar friends, such as MacDuff, Jane Maguire and Joe Quinn, Sophie, Jock and Royd go on a roller-coaster of a ride trying to take down Sanborne. This thriller keeps you on your toes and narrator Jennifer Van Dyck manages to give all the characters distinct personalities. She is definitely one of my favorite narrators when it comes to audio books!

(I borrowed this audio book from the library.)
 

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