Book Love

I wanted to use this area to share books that I have read. Please feel free to let me know what you have read and why you like or didn’t. No spoilers, just a place to share books.

September 30, 2011

If anyone is actually reading this, one might deduce that I haven’t read a book since April 25. Just to put you at ease, this mom is actually reading. Just not keeping up with blogging about them.

So, here is a new one about a girl, a hurricane and some family drama. I finished it, coincidentally on my screened in front porch as Hurricane Irene blasted us outside.

It’s called The Beach Trees, by Karen White. It was one of those books that kept me up thinking about it long after I shut off the light very late at night after reading for hours.

It’s about loss, particularly the loss of the main character Julie’s sister and then her best friend. Her sister went missing one day when Julie was 12. And Julie never stopped looking. And then she loses her best friend, Monica, to a heart defect. Monica willed her son and her home in Biloxi, Mississippi to Julie. And when Julie finally takes her new 5-year-old charge “home” to his mother’s house in Biloxi, it’s not there. A tragic casualty of Hurricane Katrina.

It is then that the mystery begins as the lives of Julie and her now dead friend Monica are intertwined. You meet Monica’s brother, Trey, and her great-aunt Aimee along with a cast of characters through the telling of the family history to Julie by Aimee. There are deaths, old and new, and scandal, race issues, a little romance, and history of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

I had several ideas of what happened — one which came true in the end. But there were so many twists and turns and surprises that it kept me mesmerized.

It was a really good read, one I recommend as it will keep you entertained and guessing.


April 25, 2011

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. (This is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy)

I wish I had known when I got this book out of the library that it was actually part of a trilogy. I just wasn’t paying enough attention. I had seen it previewed on Amazon and in the Book Review magazine at my local library. And it looked good. A witch. A vampire. A romance. A mystery and a history lesson.

The fact that it was 500+ pages long didn’t deter me. Afterall, I read all four Twilight books in two weeks. And they were huge. And one of the reviews of ADOW had likened it to a “Twilight for grown ups.”

It wasn’t.

It is about a witch named Diana who is a historian working at Oxford University. She unknowingly  stumbles upon an ancient manuscript about alchemy that apparently she is the only one in centuries that has been able to call it up at the Bodlein Library. Then all the other witches, daemons and vampires try to follow her to see what the spellbound book’s secrets are. One of the vampires, Matthew, takes it upon himself to protect Diana and the book’s secrets.

So it is Twilight-ish in that respect. And the fact that Diana, who has washed her hands of her own witchcraft, is plain and simple in the way Bella was and you wonder a bit what a 1500 year old vampire would find interesting about her. She rows crew, seems frumpy but for whatever reason is the desire of the sexy vampire.

The author is also a sommelier and there is quite a bit about wine in the book. But as far as action, both in and outside of the bedroom, there isn’t much. It seems like it was about 500+ pages to set the scene for the second book of the trilogy.

I may read the second book, but I as far as recommending the first one I would do so with a disclaimer: Deborah Harkness is a great writer and had a lot of scientific knowledge and historical facts packed into this book, but I did at times find myself skimming over some of it. I kind of do want to see what happens to them and what her point is. As a writer myself, it’s research I guess.

So if you are ambitious and like a lot of description, history, science, romance and wine, go for it.

March 21, 2011

Who doesn’t love happy endings? I do, that is why a good romance novel always sits on my bed side table.

Kristan Higgins has to be one of the funniest contemporary romance novelists ever. Each one of her books is funnier and more heartfelt than the last. I just finished Fools Rush In, one of her earlier ones and I just loved it. I find myself carrying around these paperbacks from room to room if I don’t finish them in one sitting. Fools Rush In was no exception.

Her main character thinks she knows what she wants — the guy she’s been fantasizing about since high school. She’s done with medical school, back on Cape Cod to assume her new role as doctor and is ready to take what is sure to he hers once she loses weight, gets a makeover, and gets him to finally fall head over heels in love with her. But is what she thinks she wants really what she needs? Or is it just the fantasy she created in her head that made this average Joe a demigod? Has the man she’s been looking for been right in front of her the whole time?

So many questions and so much fun. Higgins’s leading ladies are such normal people, you can’t help but relate. Her books are sprinkled with humor, especially the families of her main characters who always seem to make yours look a bit more normal.

If you want a quick, good read where you get to laugh out loud, maybe cry and wrap it up with a happy ending, I recommend any book by Kristan Higgins. I got to see her once at a Romance Writer’s talk in Connecticut (her home state) and she is even funnier in person. Love her!

March 3, 2011

I am usually one to finish books. Except maybe two or so that I can remember, I usually persevere to the end. I can’t say that for the most recent book, Hannah’s List by Debbie Macomber. It was just so boring I finally gave up. Sadly it had everything that could have been good — narrated by a man who lost his wife to ovarian cancer at 36. She left a letter in the hands of her brother to be delivered to her husband on the one year anniversary of her death. The letter gives him her wish — get married and have kids. And here are my choices for you. Good concept, but the character development was lacking and I was daydreaming throughout the book. Maybe I should finish it just to see if the ending is as predictable as I think. Or not. I love Debbie Macomber and have read a number of her books. The Cedar Cove series and the Blossom Street books are just easy pick me ups. But Hannah’s list is not one I would recommend.

February 15, 2011

By now you’ve probably realized I like food. I like books about food, too. I am currently in the rereading stage of one of my favorites — Comfort Food, by Kate Jacobs.

The main character is kind of mix of Rachel Ray, Giada DeLaurentis and Ina Garten all wrapped into one. The story revolves around a fictional Food Channel favorite host Gus Simpson, who is coming up on 50 and whose career is threatened by a network decision to replace her with a much younger, sexier host. It’s a great story about a life, a family, a career, food, and getting older and how sometimes can decide to grab the bull by the horns and go for it or decide maybe we have to move on. I loved this book. It was an easy read and loved the backstories on some of the secondary characters as well.

Kate Jacobs has some entertaining other books as well. She’s a great women’s fiction author.

February 12, 2011

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. I just finished this book last night and I have to say WOW! I don’t usually bawl my eyes out while reading, but Kristin Hannah’s tale of estranged sisters, their distant and seemingly unloving mother sucked me in. It was part family drama, part history lesson and just a great read. If you like world history, in particular WWII and Russian lore, I think this would a book for you.

I gotta warn you, it’s hard and heartbreaking at times, but the ending was pretty awesome.


2 thoughts on “Book Love

  1. I hope someday you will read (the only) book I gave you, “By the River Piedra I Sat Down & Wept” by Paulo Coelho. Or frankly, anything by this author. I’ve read several of his books and loved each one.

  2. Hi Maria,
    I highly recommend reading “A thousand splendid suns” by Khaled Hosseini. It’s a story of love in so many forms, be it a mother to her child, lover to lover, or friend to friend.

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