Wednesday, October 29, 2014

(90)Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Television writer Georgie McCool knows that her family will be disappointed that she can't miss work to go back to Nebraska for Christmas. Georgie knows that her husband Neal is at his breaking point and fed up with her long hours, work-husband, and awkward networking industry events. But this is her dream come true.  The show she has been working on with her writing partner has the potential of getting picked up, but it means they have to work through Christmas. After sending her family off Georgie knows that she may have made a marriage-ending mistake.  She seeks sanctuary at her mother's house and in her childhood room she has to resort to using the old landline when her cell phone conks out on her.   But it isn't 2013 Neal that she finds on the other end of the line, but 1998 Neal just days before he proposes to her.   Through those conversations Georgie starts to realize just how much her world would change without Neal in it.  Then she realizes that she may have altered things already by even continuing to make those calls on the Landline.   Did she just change the course of the future?  And if not, will Georgie be able to save the marriage she does treasure above all else?

My October has been nothing but a blur of baseball and a sick dog.  Last week we said good-bye to our dog and tonight my Royals are playing in Game 7 of the World Series (and currently losing by one).   I made a FAST trip to Kansas City last weekend to watch baseball with my family. So what do you do when you have a 32-hour round trip car drive?  Listen to audio-books of course.   Georgie McCool is a great character who is waging a battle millions of women battle everyday.  Work vs. Family.  Georgie is lucky that she has a husband willing to stay home and raise their girls, allowing her to pursue her dreams.  But it is obvious to Georgie, Neal, and the readers that she is taking advantage of him.   Rainbow Rowell tackles this issue with such heartfelt honesty that it is easy to fall in love with this story.  Anyone who has been married knows that marriage is tough.  There is a give and take that has to happen to keep things in balance. When there is an excessive amount of give without a lot of take things start breaking down.  As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, Georgie realizes that she has been taking far more than she has been giving and it may destroy her marriage.  As a wife who is COMPLETELY spoiled by a "giving" husband, it was a bit humbling to read and forced me to think about the balance in my own marriage.   I loved the way the book ended and it left me with that "warm-fuzzy" feeling.

Bottom line, Landline got a lot of much deserved hype this summer.   Rainbow Rowell has written a wonderful little novel examining the intricate ins and outs of marriage.  A definite must read for anyone who is a wife, will be a wife, or wants to be a wife.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

(89)As You Wish by Cary Elwes

I recently learned that my husband has never seen The Princess Bride. I remember guffawing with shock and informed him that we would be rectifying the situation rather quickly.  The Princess Bride is one of those movies that has a defining place in the memory bank of anyone who has seen it. For me it was in my high school Spanish class. We had watched the movie, dubbed in Spanish, probably half a dozen times.  In order to pass the class we had to say the "Hello my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die" in Spanish.  It is about the only Spanish I can speak to this day.

Given my long love of both the book and the movie, I was ecstatic to receive an ARC of As You Wish, a book about the making of the movie by Cary Elwes.   Not only do we get "Westley's" take on the making of the movie, but there are very special guest appearance from Mandy Pantakin, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Rob Reiner, Bill Goldman, and more.  The book is primarily Cary Elwes's experience, but it was thrilling to get input from everyone else involved in the movie.  There are so many funny stories that were shared that I found myself laughing out loud more than once.  The funniest story shared had to be when the late Andre the Giant let out a fart so loud and so long it rattled the walls of the castle.  I had serious belly laughs at the descriptive nature of the writing.   I was a bit surprised at how much of the book was devoted to the late Andre the Giant, but in reading the book, I understand why.  He played such an important role both on and off screen.  It was sweet to read and makes me a little sad to think of how much the world missed out on his talent.   During the Billy Crystal/Carol Kane scenes, the director, Rob Reiner had to leave the set because he couldn't stop laughing at Crystal's improv.  Little stories like that lets you know that the magic of the movie wasn't imagined, the magic was there both on-screen and off-screen.

Bottom line, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book so much.  It was a quick read, but one I didn't want to end.  Even after twenty-five years, The Princess Bride , for great reason, is one of the most beloved movies of all time and Cary Elwes's book is just another reminder why.  If you have a fan in your life, As You Wish would make a great Christmas gift.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

(88)In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

It has been a busy October in the Naylor house.  Between the Kansas City Royals being in the postseason for the first time in twenty-nine years (Let's Go Royals!!)  and having a really sick puppy, I haven't been able to get much reading done.  But, we have a few days before the World Series starts and I was able to take a few hours this morning and get a book under my belt.

Kristan Higgins takes us back to the quaint little town of Manningsport, New York in her new book, In Your Dreams.  Jack Holland  is the town hero for recently rescuing a group of boys that took a drive into the local lake.  Jack has kind of made it a hobby of his to be the rescuer all all things sad and desperate.  Including his ex-wife, Hadley.   Emmaline Neal is an officer on the Manningsport's minuscule police department. She was there the night Jack dived into the water and now she needs help.  She was invited to her ex-fiance's wedding and she needs a date.  Jack agrees to go with Em, but he he didn't expect how much fun he would have with her.  They hit it off and Jack now wants to be more than just Em's fake fiance.   Jack and Em are both strong personalities who have struck out in the love department.  Will they be able to put their past relationship failures behind them and look to the future?

In Your Dreams was a fun read with characters I have come to know and love.   Emmaline Neal has to be one of my favorite Kristan Higgins characters.  She has overcome a lot of feelings of inadequacies to find her place in Manningsport. The quaint little town and it's people have adopted Em as one of their own and I love that.  Jack Holland is obviously one of the "town's sons" and can do no wrong in their eyes. They are perfect for each other.  I think their story really is one of my favorites so far. I laughed & I cried as they went through their ups and downs on the road to true love.

Bottom line, Kristan Higgins is one of the most beloved romance writers for a reason.  Her characters are funny, engaging, romantic, and real.  That "realness" translates extremely well to readers and makes it difficult to put down any of her books.  If you haven't tried any of her books, you simply must do so immediately.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

(87)The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Riley MacPherson's has come home to New Bern in order to settle her father's estate.   She doesn't really want to shoulder this responsibility all alone, but she really has no choice.  Her mother died seven years ago. her older sister, Lisa, committed suicide over twenty years ago, and her older, Danny, is fighting a losing battle with PTSD,  So it falls on her and as she goes through the motions she starts to uncover all sorts of secrets about her family. Like before committing suicide her sister was accused of murder.   Like the fact that she may have been adopted.  Like the fact that her father used to be a U.S, Marshall, and her sister may actually still be alive?  Riley is completely overwhelmed by all of the information she has uncovered and she digs deeper she finds out even more information to rock her to her core and changes everything she ever thought about her family.  Will Riley be able to wade through all of the secrets to find the truth and what will happen if she gets exactly what she wants?

Diane Chamberlain knows how to make a girl want to read.  The Silent Sister is such a captivating read, I didn't want it to end.  Riley is a great character, she has her life together and we first meet her as she is just starting to deal with her father's estate.  The funeral is over and now she has to deal with his collections, his house, his RV park, and everything else you have to deal with when a parent dies. Riley wants her older brother Danny to be the kind of brother that helps her shoulder the responsibility, but he is not that kind of guy and instead it is an old family friend, Jeannie that helps Riley. It isn't until Riley starts uncovering the secrets that she realizes her entire life has been a lie.    At about the halfway point in the book we get to see another side of the story and that sheds some light on the truth. Is it her Dad's view point?  Her brother's view point?   I don't want to give away too much here, but I will say that it really heats things up and gives some validation to Riley's new feelings of complete betrayal.

Bottom line, Diane Chamberlain is skilled at creating stories that just captivate her readers.  She seamlessly weaves in and out of the past and present, slowly uncovering the whole story for her readers and then allowing them to decide for themselves if what happens is justified or not.  The Silent Sister is definitely one of those books that will generate some conversation, so add it to the list for your next book club!

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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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