Thursday, June 25, 2009

(52) Driftwood Summer by Patti Callahan Henry

It has always been my dream to own a bookstore. Or at the very least to work in a bookstore. I even had the location picked out in my little hometown. At the time, my business knowledge of what it actually takes to run a bookstore was very limited. It would have been doomed for failure.

Instead almost four years ago (June 27th) I was hired by the number one bookseller in America. Since then, I have learned the ins and outs of the book business. I can usually spot bestsellers the minute I read the dust jacket. I have met more authors, some famous, some not so much, than I ever dreamed I would get to meet. And free books. Goodness, I should never have to buy another book ever again & never run out of reading material.

And yet I bought this book.

I couldn't resist. The synopsis looked so appealing. A family owned bookstore in a small beach resort town in the south. Three sisters gather to help save the family bookstore and celebrate their mother's milestone birthday.

Riley is the oldest & the responsible sister. She dropped out of college when she got pregnant with her son and has been running the bookstore ever since. Maisy is the middle sister, she left Palmetto Beach over twelve years ago and hasn't looked back. Finally, there is Adalee. Adalee is the baby & would much rather spend her last summer of "freedom" playing with her boyfriend than slaving away in the family bookstore, let alone sharing a house with her mother.

The sisters learn a lot about themselves, each other, and the past that they all remember a little bit differently. Can they put their differences aside in order to save the bookstore? Will they be able to repair the damaged relationships of their past?

I loved the little eccentricities mentioned in this book about customers at a bookstore. Even with a company the size of mine, we run into customers that treat us as a library to just mention one case, but trust me when I say there are more. Many, many more.

Even with the bookstore connection, I had a hard time getting through this book, to be honest. And here is why. The "milestone" birthday that the girls' mother is getting ready to celebrate is her 70th birthday. The oldest daughter is 32. The youngest daughter is 20 (maybe 22). Do the math. At the very least, Kitsy was 38 when giving birth to her first child & 48 or 50 when giving birth to her third child. Possible, maybe. Probable, not likely.

I know the book is fiction. I understand that. But that one particular detail just drove me nuts through out the whole book & it was hard for me to get past it. I am weird like that, though. You won't hurt my feelings if you say it.

If you can get past that detail and enjoy bookstore tales and sisterly relationships, then pick up Driftwood Summer, it will be right up your alley.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Guess What Grisham Fans!

Yet another one of his novels has been optioned for a movie!

The Testament was the last book of his that I actually enjoyed, if you can believe that. For some reason Grisham has held out on letting this particular title go to the Silver Screen. Other more recent titles of his have already hit the screen or are currently in the works. Like The Associate (hated that book!) and Playing For Pizza (a book I totally skipped reading).

Grisham's books usually translate well to the Silver Screen. For some reason I immediately thought of Megan Fox in the role of Rachel Lane. Fox seems to be everywhere these days & a movie like The Testament would be a natural career progression for her.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

(51) The House On Fortune Street by Margot Livesey

This book was *so* not what I expected. Based on the cover and the blurb on the back, that apparently I only partially read, I was expecting this book to be a light and fluffy book about two friends sharing a house in London, looking for love & happiness.

I could NOT have been more wrong.

The House On Fortune Street is a story about Dara and the events that shaped her life to become who she becomes and why she did what she did.

Dara's story is told in four parts, from four different perspectives. First there is Sean, the boyfriend of Dara's best friend, and landlord, Abigail. The second part is told by Cameron, Dara's father. The third is told specifically about Dara, but it doesn't appear to be told from any one person's perspective. If any, Edward, Dara's married lover. The fourth section is told in Abigail's voice.

I don't want to give to much away about the story, but let me assure you, this is NOT a "feel good" book. Life is hard. Dara's past relationships play a huge factor into how her story progresses. As women we all have had relationships with men that have shaped us into how we relate to men today. Our fathers, our grandfathers, our brothers, childhood friends, and even past boyfriends all influence the relationships we have with men in our lives today.

As Dara's story unfolds, you can see that her relationship with her father & past boyfriends have a direct impact on her interactions & reactions to the man in her life today. With tragic results.

The House On Fortune Street is an enthralling, disturbing book that you will find hard to put down. It is not an easy read, it is not a feel-good read, but it is a good read. You will not regret reading about Dara and her life.

Friday, June 19, 2009

(50) Dune Road by Jane Green

I love Jane Green. Have I ever mentioned that before? Well, just in case you missed the memo, let me tell you. I love Jane Green! One of the reasons why I love her books is because it is obvious that her characters have grown with her. From single women to married women to divorced women to remarried women. Anyone familiar with Ms. Green's books & her blog can easily see the connection.

Ms Green does not disappoint with her new book, Dune Road. It is set in Highland, Connecticut. A town you may remember, with residents you may remember. Dune Road, though introduces you to new characters and their stories.

At the heart of the story is Kit. She is newly divorced, forty year old single mother with two children trying to figure out who she is after divorcing the man she had married at such a young age. She realizes that downsizing in house was the best thing she could have ever done. Because it gives her a neighbor like Edie. Edie soon turns into a surrogate mother & grandmother and in doing so,helps Kit find a job as a "Girl Friday" to a bestselling author.

You also get to meet Kit's friends, Charlie & Tracy. And of course Alice, you may remember her from To Have and To Hold. You might think that life in Highland is idyllic & perfect. With yoga classes, soccer games, and play dates. But look a little closer and you see that these women are dealing with menacing ex-husbands, financial crisis's, and self doubt about major life decisions. Life is not as perfect in Connecticut as one may think. Can Kit and her friends find the happiness they crave? Will they be able to make it through the trying times unscathed?

Jane Green has written yet another book perfect for the beach bag. With likable characters and real life dilemmas, you will be happy with the book and satisfied with the ending.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

~Mating Rituals of the North American Wasp~

This book gets a big fat, DID NOT FINISH from me. I tried. I really tried. I may not have been able to get through this book because I knew I had the new Jane Green waiting for me in the wings.

Or maybe it was because the book just wasn't good.

To this humble, Midwest farm girl, the "North American Wasp" portrayed in this book was boring and one dimensional. Nothing fascinating about the characters and nothing to hold my interest.

So, Mating Rituals of the North American Wasp gets a DID NOT FINISH from me. Maybe you will find it more entertaining than I did. Good luck with that!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

(49) Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (Audio book)

Do you have one of those friends? The friend you have had longer than any other? The friend that has been with you through it all, bad boyfriends and bad haircuts. The good times far outweigh the bad. As the years wear on you may not be involved in each others daily lives, but when you talk, it is as if not a day has passed.

I have a friend like that. Actually, a couple of friends like that, but the friend I have in mind is my friend, Michelle. We have been friends since we were twelve. Over twenty years we have been friends. There has been a lot of good times to be had in twenty years.

Firefly Lane is one of those books that makes you think of your own history. Your own friends. Firefly Lane is the story of Tully & Kate. It is the story of their friendship. They come from two completely different backgrounds. In 1974 at age fourteen, they meet and their lives forever become enter twined.

Firefly Lane follows Kate & Tully through the angst of their teen years, through their time at college, through their entry into the professional world. And while their lives take drastically different turns, they remain best friends.

Kristin Hannah has done an excellent job at taking us for a stroll down memory lane. She covers everything from music to fashion to current events of the times. From the seventies to present day, the walk down memory lane is one that you are guaranteed to enjoy. The story is a fast read, but be prepared. You will need a box of tissues for the end.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

(48) Best Intentions by Emily Listfield

If it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck, is it really a duck?

Sam & Lisa are living life like millions of Americans. They are struggling with their finances, they are trying to raise their two daughters the best they can. They are trying to pay their mortgage and private school tuition. Life is hard.

But, Sam & Lisa have been in love since college. They can survive anything. After sixteen years of marriage, they know each other inside and out. Until one morning when Lisa makes the mistake of listening to Sam's voicemail. With that one voicemail and the death of an old friend, sixteen years of trust is virtually erased. Lisa's listening to that voice mails starts in motion a chain of events that will forever change their lives.

Will Lisa & Sam survive in the end? Or will they fall victim to the one thing that kills thousands of marriages, infidelity?

While, Best of Intentions, is not the worst book I have ever read, it certainly wasn't the best. I started losing interest after the middle of the book. The twists and turns weren't really all that suspenseful, or shocking. And I didn't really feel satisfied with the end. I was just more relieved that it was finally done.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pillars of the Earth!!

Check it out, Book Lovers!

Pillars of the Earth is set to start production for an eight hour mini-series on June 22, 2009. A $40 Million Dollar budget will allow stars like Ian McShane ( did anyone besides me watch Deadwood?) and Donald Sutherland to star in the guaranteed hit. You will also recognize some of the Executive Producers, such as Ridley Scott and David Zucker.

The movie is being filmed in Hungary & Austria, so you can only imagine how beautiful the scenery is going to be.

I will readily admit that I have not read this book. I *do* have it downloaded from Audible to listen to, but it is 40 hours long. LOL. That is a huge commitment. Even for me. One of these days, though, I will get around to listening to the book.


This is exactly why I was afraid of introducing "Weekly Series" to my blog. I was afraid I would flake on it & sure enough. Life got in the way. I have had this post in "edit" mode for two weeks and now I am finally finishing it up.

Let me introduce you to Goodreads . Goodreads is another social networking site for Book Lovers. The major difference between Goodreads & Library Thing is that Goodreads is free! Because it is free, there are a lot more members and even a lot more authors that frequent the site. Unfortunately, the downside of "free" is that you have to deal with Google Ads, which, as we all know can be annoying.

Like other social networking sites, you can add "friends" , you can update your status, you can join groups, and you can create your own library. Because of the "free" status, I admit that my library on Goodreads is much larger than any other site that I use. My library not only includes books that I have read, but books sitting on my "To Be Read" pile. Currently there are 143 "To Read" books in my library, but I assure you there are hundreds more. And they truly are books that I have in my "book room" piled high, waiting for me to read.

Anyway, back to the site, one of my favorite things about Goodreads is that you can "follow" your favorite authors. Some authors are a little more faithful about updating and posting than others, but either way, the opportunity to stalk authors is never a bad thing in my book. *grin*. I also enjoy being able to peek at THEIR libraries. To see what they are currently reading, have read, or want to read. When it comes right down to it authors are bibliophiles, just like the rest of us.

Another fun feature of Goodreads is the Never-Ending Book Quiz. It is exactly as it sounds. A never-ending multiple choice quiz. I *thought* I knew literature and general book knowledge, but after spending hours on end playing the quiz, I realized how wrong I was. *grin* The Never-Ending Quiz is member generated. The questions come from members so there are varying degree of difficulties. A GREAT feature of the game is that if you have found a nemesis in knowledge you can choose to ignore that users questions.

Overall, Goodreads is a great site for what it has to offer. If you can get past the ads, Goodreads is a the perfect place to hang out. My user name on Goodreads is Charlotte Garnatz. Please feel free to add me! I look forward to "hanging out" with you and checking out your libraries.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Tuesday!!

Hard to believe it is that time again. Last week was so busy for me and it went by so very fast. So here it is again, Happy Tuesday!

Not only is The Physick Book of Delieverance Dane a perfect summer read, it is also the latest book to be a Barnes & Noble Recommends. Stop by to pick up your copy & a copy of the Reading Guide questions.

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

Relentless by Dean Koontz

Perfection by Julie Mertz

(46) Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

My "Inbox" would not make for an exciting read. It is full of Facebook Notifications and family updates. Not too exciting. My Instant Messages on the other hand, that would make for some juicy reading. What does your "Inbox" look like? Would you be comfortable sharing your inbox with the world?

Holly's Inbox is exactly what it sounds like. Holly Denham has been hired as a receptionist at a corporate bank in London. The book is her "Inbox" from her first day going forward. Interestingly enough, the book is written by a man. A man who got the idea for Holly's Inbox when he was cleaning out a computer after a receptionists left his place of employment.

Well, in reading Holly's Inbox, you get to read all about the goings on in the corporate world. From Trisha, her co-worker at the front desk, to her best friend, Jason Granger, to the dreamy James, with whom Holly starts a steamy romance with. Holly's story is told only through the emails.

You follow Holly as she navigates the world of corporate bankers while trying to juggle her eccentric friends and clueless family members. The book is a fast read. Don't let the size of the 665 page book scare you. Written in email form makes Holly's Inbox a fast, fun read. Perfect book for the beach this summer!


ETA: I almost forgot! Silly me! Would you like a tast of Holly's world? Check out her inbox online. Holly's Inbox

Opposite of Love coming to a screen near you!

Not only is one of my favorite books of 2008 FINALLY out in paperback, but it has come to my attention that 20th Century Fox has a movie in the works and Anne Hathaway has signed on to play Emily.

Emily is a twenty-nine year old attorney in New York struggling to deal with a boyfriend who is ready to settle down, family issues & a high powered career. It is a lot for a young woman to handle. Does she get the "happy-ever-after" that every girl dreams about?

You can read my original review here. Opposite of Love

Saturday, June 6, 2009

(45) As Sure As The Sun by Anna McPartlin

Whew, this having a life thing is for the birds! Not enough reading time! *grin*. This past week was a very busy week for me both professionally & personally. I had the rare weekend off & it was spent almost entirely with my family. I did manage to finish this book though!

I loved Anna McPartlin's book, Apart From the Crowd and thoroughly enjoyed it. While I enjoyed this book, I didn't enjoy it as much as the other one. It may have been because I was not able to finish it quickly, therefore it felt like a chore.

It is Harri's wedding day. Her second wedding day. The first wedding day was postponed when Harri had to be hospitalized for a panic attack. She is hoping that she can get through the second wedding day without an attack & she will be married to her beloved, James. Unfortunately history repeats herself and Harri can not make it down the aisle. While waiting in the emergency room, Harri's twin, George jokes that she is the most glamorous patient there.

After Harri is released from the hospital her life is further turned upside down. James leaves her for good. And her parents drop a bombshell, that while it may explain the panic attacks, it devastates both Harri & George.

Can Harri & George find it in their hearts to forgive their parents? Will Harri be able to find the truth about her past? Will George be there for her once the smoke clears? Will James ever be able to forgive her?

Harri & George have a solid group of friends and family that surround them in their time of need, but is that enough to come through this mess unscathed?

As Sure As The Sun was an okay book. Set in Ireland, the book was well written & not quite the fluff one would think. But it is a good story with developed characters and maybe even a happy ending or two.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Tuesday!!

Yay! It is finally time for "Summer Reading"! The next several weeks are jammed pack with AWESOME new releases. There is bound to be something from your favorite authors!

Skin Trade by Laurel K Hamilton

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

The Fugitive by Philip Margolin

(I am really excited about this one!)

Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich

Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

New in Paperback

Monday, June 1, 2009

Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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