Friday, November 29, 2013

(96)The Whole Golden World by Kristin Riggle

The Whole Golden World

Pages: 448
Publication Date: November 5, 2013

Morgan Monetti is a seventeen-year-old high school senior on the verge of womanhood.  She is a mixed bag of emotions, as are many seventeen year old girls.  She gets frustrated at the extra responsibilities her parents give her with her little brothers, but she likes being called mature for the way she helps.  She dreads the thought of going to her calculus class because her ex-boyfriend is in the same class, yet she loves the hot teacher, Mr. Hill.  It starts when Mr.Hill took away her phone for texting in class.  She goes back after school to pick it up and there is an undeniable spark between them.  It continues with a few meaningful conversations and goes to the next level when he sneaks into her practice room when she is supposed to be practicing her cello solo. Their affair continues for many months and comes to a screeching halt when a police officer discovers them in his car during a make-out session.  What happens to Morgan when their affair is made public?  Will she survive the ridicule being hurled her way at school and on the internet?  Will Mr. Hill's marriage survive the revelation and does he want it to?  And then there is the whole legal aspect of their affair, what will happen when the court gets involved?

The Whole Golden World is a riveting look at a topic that is becoming all too common in the headlines these days. Here is Morgan, a child determined to be treated like an adult, but finds herself drowning when adult situations invade her life.  She tries so hard to be mature and appear mature, but when things get tough all she wants to do is curl into a ball and ignore the whole world.  The dynamics between Morgan and her mother often reminded me of my relationship with my own mother when I was seventeen. That age where Mom wants to keep you a kid, but daughter wants to be treated like a grown-up. It is a tough place to be for both women.   Then there is Rain, Mr. Hill's wife.  This poor woman is battling infertility, which is pretty devastating in it's own right and then there is the accusations against her husband.   At first her loyalty was admirable, but then even I wanted to shake her and say "wake up, woman!"   From the perspective of all the main characters, the end of the book was very satisfying for me to read.  It wasn't an easy conclusion, but it was satisfying.

Bottom line, if you are looking for an engrossing read to distract you from the leftover pie, you must rush to your favorite bookseller and get The Whole Golden World.  You will find yourself swept up into the drama surrounding Morgan Monetti and forget all about the leftovers!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

(95)Six Years by Harlen Coben

Six Years 

Pages: 368
Publication Date: March 19, 2013

It has been six years since Jake Fisher met and lost the love of his life, Natalie.  There might be a bit of a chance of Jake moving on if Natalie had passed away, but no, Natalie didn't die.  She married someone else.   Jake has done okay at living life without Natalie.  Even though he is doing okay with his career as a college professor he is just existing, not living.   That all changes one day when he notices an obituary on the college's website.  The man Natalie married is dead and Jake is curious enough to fly to the funeral only to discover that this man has been married for far longer than six years and has two grown children.  So what happened to Natalie? What happened six years ago that made her fake a marriage to a man who was just murdered? Did their "marriage" have anything to do with his death?  And again, where is Natalie now?

I have been working on this audio book for way too long, mostly because I took a "break" from the treadmill for a while.   Even though it took me so long to finish, Harlan Coben still kept me hooked.   Jake Fisher was a great character and I really felt his heartache.  He was so sure that Natalie was the "one" for him and he was not about to abide by her wishes to never contact her again.  I also liked the friendship between  Jake and Benedict.  They seemed so different from each other, yet Benedict was the one person that Jake could depend on.  And even that was called into question in true Harlan Coben fashion.

Bottom line, Harlan Coben is one of the best mystery novelists to ever have written a book.  His books are captivating, exciting, and full of surprises.  Six Years was no different.  If you are looking for a good mystery, as always, Harlan Coben is the way to go.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

(94)Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown


Pages: 272
Publication Date: May 7, 2013

You are going to thank me!!  I have just found your go-to gift for Christmas, graduations, and birthdays!

Adulting: How to Become A Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps is a comprehensive, "how-to" manual for anyone that is new to adulthood or just needs to grow up!  There are fun, detailed, easy to read pieces of advice for anyone who is in the need of acting like an adult.  Advice on everything from keeping house (dishes and cleaning schedules) to vehicle maintenance (really, you should name your car!), office ethics, making friends in your new neighborhoods and so much more. There are even helpful hints as to how to assert yourself both at the office and in your private life. Oh and wise  financial advice such as savings accounts and investing.    As a thirty-eight year old, a lot of the information shared wasn't really new to me, but I still found myself riveted and eager to continue reading.  And I can really see how it would be very useful to recent college graduates and even others just venturing out on their own for the first time. Or even the second time.

Bottom line, like I said at the very beginning,  Adulting will a great gift to give this year.  In fact it is one of those gifts that will keep on giving throughout the whole year!  If you are looking for a great stocking stuffer, then look for Adulting in your local bookstore!

Monday, November 25, 2013

(93)Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

Morning Glory 

Pages: 304
Publication Date: November 25, 2013

There was a little movie back in the nineties, you may have heard of it, Sleepless in Seattle? That one movie caused an entire country to fall in love with the idea of living on a houseboat.  Author, Sarah Jio, was so enamored by the thought of living on a houseboat that she decided to set her next book on a houseboat in the Lake Union in the Seattle area.

Ada has left her life in New York City and arrived in Seattle to try and finally heal from the death of her husband and daughter. She finds herself renting the housboat in slip number seven on Boat Street.  It almost feels like a whole different world to Ada.  The neighbors on Boat Street are close and have a history that goes back decades. Ada isn't there long before she discovers that there is a mystery surrounding her houseboat and Boat Street.  In 1959 a young woman, Penny, went missing without a trace.  Ada's curiosity is piqued even further when she discovers a trunk of memorabilia that once belonged to Penny.  Is the mystery surrounding Penny's  disappearance enough to help Ada heal or will the very handsome neighbor, Alex, also help Ada move on with her life?

Morning Glory is a beautiful novel that just renewed the longing I had in the nineties to go live on a house boat.  The story is told in both present and past tense. And whether it be Ada's story or Penny's the character and charm surrounding Boat Street remains the same.   The one thing that was consistent with both Penny and Ada were their sense of sadness.  In a way they both suffered losses, Ada losing her family the way she did and Penny losing her youth to a bad marriage. The sense of longing in both of them is almost palpable. The difference between the two women though is noticeable with Ada.  You can see the diminishing of her sadness as the book progresses and that is mostly due to Alex.  There is a bit of a twist at the end of the book that I kind of guessed was coming, but it really did bring a necessary conclusion to the story.

Bottom line, Morning Glory is a wonderful little novel that takes you to another place and another time.  The story will tug at your heart strings as you find yourself being swept away with Ada and Penny's heartache.   If you are looking for something quick and lovely to read you will not be disappointed by Morning Glory, that I promise you.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

(92)Christmas at the Beach by Wendy Wax

Christmas at the Beach

Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Pages: 52

Buy it Here!

The ladies from Ten Beach Road are back and it is Christmastime at the beach.  The ladies are anticipating the next project for their hit reality show, but the news that Ten Beach Road has sold has left them all a little down in the dumps.  Even though we get to catch up with all of the girls, Christmas at the Beach is told from the perspective of Kyra, Madeline's daughter. Kyra is a young, single mother trying to avoid the paparazzi that follow her every mood.   Will the ladies be able to enjoy Christmas at the beach before they have to be gone for good?  Or will the paparazzi ruin it for all of them?

Christmas at the Beach was just a quick little novella to help get yo in the holiday mood.   Even though it was so short, these characters are familiar to me and many of you, so there wasn't a lot of character development needed.

Bottom line, Christmas at the Beach was quick, festive, and set up a sequel for coming books in the series.  If you are looking for a read to put you in the holiday mood, give it a shot.  At $2.99 you can't go wrong, right?

Monday, November 18, 2013

(91)The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch

The Theory of Opposites

Pages: 312
Publication Date:  November 12, 2013

In the chaos that is Willa Chandler-Golden's family she knew the one thing she could depend upon was her husband, Shawn.  In the five years they have been married they have settled into a reliable routine that includes eggs on Sunday and never fighting.  They do everything together and are so predictable in their actions that Willa's family have given them nickname "Shilla" because it is hard to tell where one separates and the other begins. In a very short amount of  Willa's world is rocked and it starts with her father, the famous self-help guru loses the Nobel prize, she loses her job, and Shawn tells her that he wants a "break".  Oh, and her ex-boyfriend sends her a long overdue apology via Facebook message.

Willa's best friend, Vanessa, decides to help Willa gain clarity with everything by writing their own book that will basically be the exact opposite of her famous father's theory.   The project challenges Willa to step way out of her comfort zone and do things she never would have dreamed doing prior to Shawn's request for a "break".  Like jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, going to a baseball game and catching a home-run ball - barehanded and then there is Theo, the ex-boyfriend.  Will the break bring Willa and Shawn closer together or will it break them apart forever?

The Theory of Opposites was laugh out loud funny in so many parts, but I also found my eyes leaking a few times, too.   Willa handed the first few days of the "break" much, much better than I would have done.  I would have definitely lost my shit.  A married man wants a "break" and writes out a list of "rules" for the break that includes sleeping with other people?  I DON'T THINK SO!  I really liked Willa and ultimately I just wanted her to be happy, so I wavered between wanting her to end up with Shawn or Theo.  In the end, I was pleased with the way it ended, but it did shock me the way it came about and truly was surprised with her decision.   I must also comment on the utter train-wreck that is Willa's family, starting with her parents who were on their own "break" and the way they announced their "break" really gave me the first clue that her family was nuts.  And nuts in a way that makes your family look normal.  Did I mention that Willa has a yoga guru brother who is indicted because of a pyramid scheme?  Nuts I tell you. It is no wonder that Willa clings to the routine of her marriage.

Bottom line, The Theory of Opposites is a fun book. It has it's moments of both joy and sorrow and is full of "what if's" and "life is short" moments.  And even more "girl power" moments.  Which for that reason alone would make this book a great selection for a book club.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

(90)Don't Want to Miss A Thing by Jill Mansell

Don't Want to Miss A Thing

Pages: 432
Publication Date: November 5, 2013

Playboy Dexter Yates is thrilled when his sister makes him an uncle.  He never thought he could be so enamored with a baby, but young Delphi certainly has him wrapped around her little finger.  Tragedy strikes and leaves Delphi all alone after some consideration Dex decides to take on the role of her guardian.  To say it is life changing is a great understatement.   When Dex decides to take Delphi and move to the quaint little village of Briarwood he discovers that it really does "take a village" and it starts with his beautiful next door neighbor, Molly.

Artist Molly Hayes loves living in Briarwood.  It is the kind of village where everyone knows everyone and they are there for their neighbors when there is a need.  Molly can spot the "playboy" in Dex the very first time she meets him.  She has her doubts that he can really make a go of it with Delphi, but soon she is enamored with both Dex and Delphi.   Molly is not willing to let herself fall for a playboy, but what happens when the "playboy" part of Dex starts disappearing?  Will Dex ever see her for more than just a free babysitter?  Will she ever admit her feelings?

One of the things I love about Jill Mansell novels is all of the subplots that are going on in the background.  They truly paint a whole picture of the main characters and those that surround them in the story.  In Don't Want to Miss A Thing we get to know several of the villagers.  Frankie, Lois, Joe, and Stephen to just name a few. They all have secrets, desires, and dreams.   The way they connect with each other and Dex and Molly really make this novel so charming.  There are so many different stories I could tell about the residents of Briarwood, but  I won't.  Just know that they all could stand alone as the stars in their own stories.

Bottom line, I have been enjoying Jill Mansell novels for many years and I always look forward to her next book.  They are fresh and funny and heartwarming and always so full of charm.  If you are looking for a little "feel good" type of novel then you must pick up Don't Want to Miss A Thing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

(89)Entwined With You by Sylvia Day

Entwined With You 

Publication Date: October 23, 2012

Recently a friend and I were recently talking about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon and everything that came out of this series.  So when I was looking for a mindless read I remembered that I had  Reflected In You  buried in my nook library.

Reflected in You is the second book in the Crossfire trilogy.  Eva and Gideon continue their utterly dysfunctional relationship.  They are trying to make things work and are doing things such as attending weekly therapy sessions to try and make their relationship work. Both of them are trying to put their past in the past and only look forward, but it is hard to do when their past keeps invading their present.  Will they be able to work past the new issues or is their relationship destined to fail?

Okay, I will admit that there was more than once in this novel where I just wanted to chuck it across the room and say "grow up".  To both of the main characters. It was almost ridiculous how horrible their relationship skills are, I mean Gideon doesn't call Eva and she obviously believes he hates her and has moved on.  He does call and she rants about how controlling and smothering he is to her.  Argh.  It was horrible.  But no matter how horrible it was, I couldn't put the book down.  I finished it in rather quick form and just found myself rolling my eyes at the part.  And the thing Gideon DOES to prove his love, really?

Bottom line, do not go into these books expecting anything literary or even grammatically correct in some cases. If you are looking for mindless and keep your expectations low, you will probably get through it just fine.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

(88)The Perfect Match by Kristin Higgans

The Perfect Match

Pages: 384
Publication date: October 29, 2013

After her yearly visit to her gyno, thirty-five year old Honor Holland decides that her biological clock is ticking rather loudly. There is a problem though, in reality Honor is "married" to her job at the family winery.  There is a man in her life though, her old school friend, Brogan. She has been in love with him for longer than she can remember, but for Brogan it has been more of a "friends with benefits" kind of relationship.   Honor is desperate to start a family and decides that it is time for them to take their relationship to the next level.  Unfortunately her heart is shattered when she finds out that her best friend has been dating Brogan behind her back.   Honor has about had it with love and men in general after that, but when she hears that the extremely handsome professor, Tom Barlow, is in need of a green card she decides that a marriage of convenience just may be the way to go.  What she doesn't expect is to fall in love with his stepson, too.  Or her family to fall in love with Tom.   Is this match truly "The Perfect Match" or is Honor rushing into something that will ruin her life?

I just love Kristan Higgins and her books.  If you like her Facebook page you will find that she is funny, current, relevant, and has a great eye for men.  All of which translates to her characters.  Honor Holland may be a bit stuffy at first,  but as the book goes on you will find that Tom's British influence on her is a good one.  The chemistry between Tom and Honor is unmistakable and even I found myself melting during a certain scene with Tom and Spike, the dog. Many a time I found myself laughing out loud and I even found myself cheering during certain scene between Honor and her alleged best friend.  The end was perfect without being too cutesy, it wasn't forced and felt real.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a fun and fluffy ready, you have GOT to grab a Kristan Higgins book.  I know I have told you before, so I am curious, have any of you read a Kristan Higgins novel yet?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

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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