Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett Out April 22nd

This is the story of three brothers, their father who is a fisherman and their life in the small town they live in.  Their grandfather has passed away and so has their Uncle Nick.  Their mother died in a car accident and Aunty Jean their Mom’s sister helps by running errands for the family but their home is a house of men without a doubt.  Joe the oldest wants to leave and he plans to as soon as he boat is ready.  Miles the brother who is stuck in the middle wants to leave as badly as Joe, but he feels he must stay and take care of Harry who is much to young to be left on his own with their father.  We learn about the deaths in the family though Miles memories, and we see the present from Harry’s viewpoint.  Harry befriends a neighbor George and his dog who keep an eye on him and give him a place to go when he needs it.  Miles escapes by surfing with a friend or alone, and Joe has the boat to keep him busy.  All of the boys seem to be marking time in their own way until yet another tragedy strikes and they once again have a chance to change things.   I found Harry a loveable character and I could identify with both Miles and Joe and how they felt about their life and their dreams.  I liked the way that the past and Miles memories were woven into the narrative.  If you like family stories give this one a try.

Three summer reads

I know it is mid April and at my house it snowed last night, yes it did, woke up to white on the grass and the roof.  Sigh, winter just won’t go away which is making me think about the warm weather finally arriving and some of the good books that will be coming with it, here are three I’m looking forward to reading this summer, I know there are lots more, but these three were on my mind this morning.  First of all Harry Dresden will be back at the end of May, followed by Stephanie Plum in June, Wendy Wax will take us back to the beach in July and we can ease into fall with the last Rachel Morgan adventure.  Sigh, I know that’s four books so I should change the title but I won’t. Tell me what’s on your summer reading list if you don’t mind sharing.

Snack Girl to the Rescue Out Now

The book was available yesterday, sorry the post is late.  I don’t read every nutrition or diet book that comes out, there are way to many and I have found some of them seem to just about contradict each other, but I do read some of them from time to time since I have always had an interest in nutrition even before I found myself in the group that could stand to loose a few pounds.  I find the logic in snack girl sound, I think her suggestions are good and I think her approach to food is realistic, is this book going to change your life?  I don’t know I hope it does help you somehow but i wouldn’t make a huge claim.  I’ve found for me small changes i can live with are better than big changes I give up on after a while.  I think there are small changes you can make with this book that will help you eat healthier regardless of your weight, some of us know we need to eat better.  I have tried two recipes from the book so far and I have liked them both.  I tried the roasted Brussels sprouts, and the pasta with veggies and lemon and yogurt.  Roasted Brussels sprouts have become a regular in my house and I think the pasta will become a staple as well.  I have to admit I just could not make pasta without tomato so I drained a can of diced tomatoes and added it even though the recipe didn’t call for it.  I don’t plan to make this a diet and nutrition blog in any way shape or form, but if those topics interest you this book is worth a look.

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax Out Now

What do you do when you are faced with financial ruin?  Three women are brought together by life because they sue the man who stole their money and they are given a third share in a house he owned.  All of them are hoping to sell quick and to have enough money to give them a new start, however Bella Flora has other plans, while it is a beautiful home it has been neglected for many years.  The women must decide to level the house and sell the land or if there is a way to renovate it and then sell it which will mean more money, but much more work since their budget will be limited.  They opt to restore the house and find friendship and learn life lessons along the way.  Maddie is one of the women and she lots on her plate, but all of them find themselves faced with hard choices.  Maddie’s husband lost his job last year, but couldn’t tell her, he’s been job hunting for months with no luck, but once he tells her the truth he seems paralyzed by his admission and spends months watching television while the world goes on without him, Maddie’s mother in law sets her kitchen on fire and so Maddie and Steve must take her in while he home is repaired and figure out what to do long term since she can’t be on her own there anymore, her son Andrew looses his college scholarship and her daughter announces she is pregnant from a fling she had while working on a film crew.  A hot summer of hard work is the least of her problems in some ways.  I loved the interaction between the women as they try to save the house and regain some control over their lives while making big decisons.  Good news for those who enjoyed it or want more after the read it, there are more adventures with these ladies.  The second book in the Ten Beach Road series is Ocean Beach and it is also out now, The House on Mermaid Point is out July 1st, and for those of you who like holiday themed reading Christmas at the beach is an ebook, I didn’t see a print edition on Barnes and Noble’s site.  Looks like a good series, the others are on my to read list.

Return to Tradd Street by Karen White, Out Now

For those of you who are familiar with Karen’s White’s books that involve Realtor Melanie Middleton and writer Jack  Trenholm you will be glad to know that this latest installment of their story is just as good as the others.  Once again Melanie finds herself dealing with a historical mystery, a spirit or two and repairs on her house.  Her advancing pregnancy doesn’t help matters either, nor do the tensions between Jack and his daughter Nola, who of course look to Melanie to mediate, add a new detective and a nosy reporter to the mix along with Melanie’s cousin Rebecca’s wedding the stress just seems to pile on poor Melanie yet again.  To up the ante this time Melanie must visit places that are hard for her.  The visits the Charleston Museum and the cemetery.  With Melanie’s gift of being able to see and hear and help spirits you can imagine that when she walks into a place with a lot of history she hears a lot of people, never fear she sings ABBA songs to keep the other noise from bothering her to much.  As usual Karen White has woven together the past and the present into a wonderfully told story of love and family.  If you already read this series and enjoy it and are looking for another series like it try the Irish series by Andrew M Greeley, The heroine in those novels also has connections like Melanie’s and the book takes place in the present but there is a mystery in the past that ties into the present.  And last but not least I was at the Charleston Museum a few weeks ago and I wish I had read this book before I went so I could have looked to see if the piece of furniture that Melanie went to look for or something like it was there.  Have to try to remember to look next time I guess.

Here and Now by Ann Brashares Out April 8th

This is the story of Prenna and Ethan and how they change the world.  Ethan is from the current time his people are also called time natives.  He does everything he can to be Prenna’s friend, but she makes it hard, she has rules she must follow and one of them is about making friends and being close to people.  Prenna has always been one to question and push the limits though and before she knows it she and Ethan have befriended a local homeless man, who tells Prenna things she is better off not knowing and that make her question her life and choices she makes, together with Ethan she begins to make her own choices and make the world a better place, but her love for Ethan my ultimately be too much for her, not only are such relationships forbidden for a number of reason, but the fact that Ethan knows she is different and much more by the end complicates matters even further.  I hope to see them again and learn more about the future and the past.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Caire North Out April 8th

As you have probably guessed by the title this book is the story of Harry’s many lives. He serves in both world wars multiple times, he marries the same woman often, and he tries to have a relationship with both is birth father and his adoptive father. His birth mother dies when he is born and his birth mother always dies early in his life. You see Harry relives the same time period each time his life starts over. However in each life there a subtle changes which change his actions and the world around him. Take Vincent for example, he is sometimes a friend, sometimes a foe, and sometimes a companion depending on which life Harry is living. I found the idea of being able to relive your life multiple times fascinating and I often found myself feeling for Harry sometime happiness, sometimes frustration and sadness as well depending on the circumstances.

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon April 8 2014

This book was truly unique.  Anna and her father Doug work for the dictionary.  Anna is Doug’s assistant.  When Doug disappears Anna does what any good daughter would do, she tries to find him, and realizes there is more going on than the fact that Doug is missing.  She enlists the help of Bart their coworker to help with her search but when he comes down with the word virus, part human virus and part computer virus she realizes why her father warned her away from technology and left her pills to take.  Anna must figure out the cause of the word virus and the importance of it.  She asks her father’s colleague Phineas and the help of the Diachronic Society to get to the bottom of the virus and find Doug and her search takes her on many adventures.  I loved the concept of this book as well as the way the story was told.  Each chapter has definitions from Doug’s dictionary as   well as foot notes for facts the reader will find useful.

Night Diver by Elizabeth Lowell Out April 8th

Kate Donnelly left diving in her painful past, until her brother Larry begs her to return and save the family business.  While Larry is a great diver he does not have a head for numbers or record keeping and the impending arrival of Holden Cameron, who is being sent by his client to evaluate the current dive and decide if they can continue sends him into a panic.  Larry desperately needs Kate’s help to make the dive look ship shape and so Kate caves to family pressure and heads back home.  Once there she does her best to put things in order, but when things start to go missing Kate and Holden must get to the bottom of the disappearances and save the project while dealing with the electricity that develops between them.

The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith Out April 1

This short story collection masterfully weaves folk lore, history and everyday life together into stories that are mystical, lyrical and haunting.  The stories are varied, except for the first and the last which are about the deaths of two women a mother and her daughter many years apart. I am not always a fan of short story collections, but these will stay with me in the back of my mind for a bit like all good characters.