Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Forever, Interrupted


This book is both sexy and sad, magical and heartbreaking. And parts of it left me breathless.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid is definitely "not your average love story." I've never read another novel where a romance so right and a grief so poignant are as deftly woven together as in this one. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down.

The premise?

Elsie Porter meets Ben Ross on New Year's Day. Their attraction is instantaneous and very mutual. After only two weeks of dating, they've both fallen head over heels in love with each other. Five months later, they decide to elope. Nine days after that, Ben is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Their love was like a supernova. And then it wasn't. Life's like that. But that's not the end ... because "there's more than one way to find a happy ending."

This gripping, amazing novel made me smile, sigh, laugh, cry, skip ahead and go back and read all over again. It's that kind of book.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A little bookish wisdom...

"It is not enough to have dreams in your heart.
You have to put your heart in your dreams."
--Lori Carlson, The Sunday Tertulia

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
--H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."
--Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

From my TBR shelf...

Author Anthony Berkeley helped usher in the Golden Era of detective fiction. The Poisoned Chocolates Case is his 5th novel. It revolves around the exclusive Crimes Circle Club whose six members have an interest in murder, detection and criminal psychology; as an intellectual exercise, they've decided to solve a recent murder that has Scotland Yard stumped. The club members give themselves one week to study the case and come up with their own solutions, which they'll then present at their next meeting.

The crime they are trying to solve begins with a simple box of chocolates which is delivered anonymously to Sir Eustace Pennefeather at his club, the Rainbow. Not wanting them himself, he passes the chocolates onto Graham Bendix, who then gives them to his wife. Neither knows that the chocolates have been poisoned until Mrs. Bendix dies. It seems the intended target was Sir Eustace, but who would want to murder him? That's what the Crimes Circle intends to figure out.

It's a fun premise for a murder mystery. As each club member presents his or her solution, you as the reader learn a little bit more about the murder, but never enough to solve it completely, especially when the other members quickly refute the others' premises. I thought it was an interesting way to tell a story. And I liked Berkeley's style of writing and his sense of humor, like when he writes that candidates for the Crimes Circle Club "must have a brain and be able to use it" or when he writes that Mrs. Bendix "was not so serious-minded as not to have a healthy feminine interest in good chocolates". Is this the best murder mystery ever written? No. But it is a good one, and I enjoyed reading it. (With a box of chocolates nearby!) And because this book is "Older Than My Mom" it fills another Reading Bingo square which is an added bookish bonus. (Although it could also be in the running for the Ugly Cover square.)

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Can't wait!

Three of my favorite authors have new books coming out this year and I can't wait! The first one, When Falcons Fall by C.S. Harris comes out on March 1st. This historical mystery series features Sebastian St. Cyr Viscount Devlin, whom I have a bit of a bookish crush on.

Then, on March 8th, Patricia Briggs' latest Mercy Thompson novel, Fire Touched, is being released. This is my favorite urban fantasy series. (Gotta love those werewolves!)

Finally, on April 8th, comes Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James. I absolutely love her novels of ghostly suspense and romance!

See why I have such a bad case of bookish anticipation? Now if only Sharon Bolton would hurry up and write a new Lacey Fling novel life would be complete.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gone Missing

"My name is Kate Burkholder and I've been the police chief of Painters Mill for about three years now. I was born here to Amish parents in a one-hundred-old farmhouse set on sixty acres of northeastern Ohio's rich, glaciated soil. I grew up Plain. Up until the age of fourteen, I was a typical Amish girl--innocent, God-loving, content in the way most Amish children are ... All of that changed on a postcard-perfect summer day when fate introduced me to the dark side of human nature. I learned at a formative age that even on perfect, sunny days, bad things happen."

 In this Linda Castillo mystery, Kate Burkholder has been asked by State Agent John Tomasetti to consult on a case involving three missing Amish teenage girls. They come from different communities in Ohio; they didn't know one another; and they went missing months apart. But Kate and Tomasetti think their disappearances might be related. Then one of the girls turns up dead, and a fourth girl goes missing--a girl that Kate knows personally.

This is a good mystery. But it's the Amish setting I like best: their rules and restrictions, family values and faith, and the way they choose to not be a part of the modern world. Because she was raised Amish, Kate understands them; but because she chose to leave their community when she was eighteen, she's no longer welcome among them, which makes her a nicely complicated character. In her job as police chief, she tries to bridge the gap between the Amish and the English, which isn't easy.  And her growing relationship with Agent Tomasetti is another fun complication. It's all these layers and complications that make this mystery series so good.

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Small as an Elephant

Jack Martel's mother takes him camping at the Seawall Campground on Mount Desert Island, Maine, but when he wakes up in the morning his mother is gone. Jack looks for her around the campground; he takes the Island Explorer bus around the island in search of their rental car; and he walks every inch of Bar Harbor in the hopes of spotting her in one of the shops or restaurants. What he doesn't do is tell anyone that she's missing because it's not likely that she's been in an accident or is hurt. "The likeliest possibility was that she had just gone off--again."

Here are some things I liked about Jennifer Richard Jacobson's novel:

  1. Jack's ingenuity and stubborn determination as he searches for his mother. (Although the fact that he's only eleven and is on his own is also heartbreaking.)
  2. The kind and quirky characters he meets along the way. (Especially Big Jack.)
  3. The Maine setting. (The description of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island made me want to book a summer trip to Maine!)
  4. Jack's obsession with elephants. (Every chapter is headed with an elephant fact or quote, which I loved.)
  5. Jacobson's writing. (Although this 275-page novel is written for children, it doesn't read like a children's book; this is a moving and memorable novel perfect for readers of any age.)
  6. It fills another category in my Reading New England Challenge!
Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bookish Thoughts...

On bookish traditions.  The other day at work one of my friends mentioned how when she was growing up, the "Book Fairy" came to her house every New Year's Eve bringing everyone a new book for the new year. How great is that? It's a tradition she's continued with her own children. And I was a little envious. The Book Fairy never came to my house when I was growing up. But I wish she had.

On The Shannara Chronicles.  I started to watch this new series on MTV, which is loosely based on Terry Brooks' novel The Elfstones of Shannara, but I kept getting distracted (and a little annoyed) by all the ways in which the series differs from the book. I was twelve when I first read this novel; and I loved it even though the ending broke my heart. It was the first time a book ever made me cry. Sadly, the TV series doesn't have quite the same effect. So in the end, I turned the TV off and reached for the book instead. And for 500 pages I was once again happily ensconced in the magical world of Shannara and the adventures of Allanon and the Elves, Wil Ohmsford and Amberle Elessedil.
Moral of the story: the book is always better.

Happy Reading!