The Manhattan Puzzle by Laurence O’ Bryan August 26th

When Sean Ryan’s employer BHX, a large bank gets involved in a merger with global consequences his family become pawns in a heinous plot.  Sean does not come home from work and his wife Isabelle is worried, she does not realize just how far and how nerve racking her search for her husband will become.  This is a fast paced page turner with lots of twists to the plot.  A fast paced enjoyable read.  I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to give anything away, but this one had me hooked.  Enjoy.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell Out Now

This is a touching story about a family that seems perfect and is then faced with a tragedy. As you might expect each member of the family handles it in their own way some of them very public some of the very private, but though it all their home is still their safe zone, except that their mother Lorrie’s penchant for keepsakes slowly spirals out of control and as her children grow up and on with their lives they are always astounded at how much the problem seems to grow between visits. It is Lorrie and her problem that keep her children connected to each other although they will go to other towns and other continents to create their own lives yet their mother’s influence is still there. Meg the oldest is very neat and tidy almost to a fault some would say, Beth takes nothing with her when she goes wanting to make both a figurative and a literal head start, and Rory has to find peace for himself before he can be part of anything else. I loved this book and it’s characters, they made me laugh and cry and I could identify with Lorrie since I am a bit to sentimental myself. A great read. I also thought that Lorrie’s increasing concerns about stuff and material things were handled realistically and gently.

We Are Not Ourselves Matthew Thomas August 19th

Ed and Eileen are happily married, there son Connell is in high school a bright boy with a promising future when Ed is diagnosed with early on set Alzheimer’s.  As one might imagine it throws their life inot a tailspin.  Ed who is a college professor and loves being in the classroom most of all knows that his diagnosis will take him out of the classroom and so they agree to try to hide his diagnosis for as long as they can, but all too soon Ed is retired and home alone all day while Eileen works full time during the day and tries to keep life in order for Ed at night.  The stress as you can imagine begins to wear her down, but she still sees her husband in fewer and fewer glimpses as the novel progresses.  We see a wife and mother trying to do her best for her husband and her son.  We see her trying to get enough years in so she will have health insurance when she retires, we see a man letting go of his fie as he has know it and we see a son who is trying his best to make his parents happy.  It is only in retrospect as the characters look back that they realize what they had and what they have or might loose.  A touching story of love and life and loss and how the three are so much a part of our lives.

Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family by Mellissa Hart

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I admit I’m a softie for animal stories which is what drew me to this book in the first place, but like most books it was so much more than a book about the work Melissa and her husband Jon have done rescuing birds.  I loved watching Melissa gently immerse herself into Jon’s volunteer work from their first date.  I loved watching her grow and challenge herself and i felt like I was right there with them as they navigated the murky waters of adoption.  I loved watching them become a team and then seeing that team get stronger as life put more and more things on their plates.  This is far more than a book about birds.  It is the story of crushed hopes, new beginnings, finding inner strength, and challenging ourselves to push our limits.

Three great short reads out now

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So today I’m going to tell you a little about three short works I read recently.  Lets face it as much as all of us like to read sometimes there just isn’t time to start or stick with a book, and these three stories might just fit the bill, all of them are short easy reads with great characters, well thought out plots and satisfying conclusions.

Ricochet by Mary Jo McConahay is the story of a woman journalist and her photographer friend Nancy and their adventures together covering international news and war torn countries for the print media.  While the work makes the narrator dig in her heels and work hard, the work eventually leads Nancy to a new role in her life and the lives of others who need her help.

Out of Dublin by Ethel Rohan is the story of a daughter and a family who deal with Mom’s Alzhaimer’s and later Dad’s health issues as well.  It is a well crafted story about a daughter who wants to do the right thing, but she doesn’t always know what that is or how to accomplish it.

What I Wish You’d Told Me by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro  is a collection of three stories all dealing with secrets that we keep and how they affect our world and other people and their perceptions of us.

A Song for Issy Bradley Carys Bray August 12, 2014

I really enjoyed this book, it was sad and kind of haunting in a good way like books can be, but I found it very honest, I’ve never been in this situation myself, but it way the characters handled it seemed very real to me.  Issy Bradly dies unexpectedly and as you can imagine her family is lost.  They can’t quite figure out how to go one without their youngest member.  Her father refuses to do anything but appear as if everything is under control, her oldest sister misses her terribly, her mother tries to carry on like her father, but is soon overcome with grief and gives into it.  Her brother Jacob decides that he is going to try to bring her back.  Through their varied reactions and the wide variety of ways they try to pick up the pieces and move on the novel paints a touching portrait of a family trying to fill a void in their lives as we all do when we loose someone we love.  A free copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Fault in Our Stars John Green

I”m sure you’ve heard lots of things about this book so I won’t bother to give you a plot summary of any sort.  I loved the characters and their approach to life.  They made me laugh and cry and I felt like I was among friends as I was reading.  I have not seen the movie but I hope to see it once it is released on DVD.  I’m curious if any of you have read any of his other novels and what you thought about them.  He handles this subject in a very graceful manner.  As you probably guessed it is still on my mind days after finishing it.  I wish it has a prequel.

Dear Luke, We need to talk, Darth

This book is a collection of comedic what if’s from pop culture.

I loved lots of the essays in this book.  The staff memo for Hotel California, the life story of Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde, as well as a list of Walter White’s career choices were on my list of favorites, but there is something here for everyone.  Was Gilligan’s Island a CIA plot?  What about Superbowl Half Time Shows were there better choices?  This book will make you smile, laugh and ponder what might have been.  A great light read, and since the segments are short it makes a great book to read in parts.  I really enjoyed it. 

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino Out Now

Madeleine Altimari is the central character in this wonderful novel.  She is young girl who has recently lost her mother and whose father is so consumed in his grief he can’t see beyond it.  Madeleine’s dream is to sing as her mother did, but life is making it hard for her to make her dream come true.  She gets into a fight with a bully on December 23rd and is expelled and sent home which will set in motion a series of events that will bring all the characters together at 2 A.M. on Christmas Eve for a magical moment.  A touching read that reminds us that our life is not as distant from the lives of others as we might think it is.

 

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All we Had by Annie Weatherwax

This novel tells the story of Ruth and her mother who have spent their life moving from place to place, but when life drops them in Fat River they end up finding a home for the first time. They find jobs and friends for the first time and it is those friendships that will sustain Ruth and her mother as they move toward their dreams. I loved Ruth and her tell it like it is style of narrating the story, I could feel the love between Ruth and her mother and their fondness for the other characters. I found the story heartwarming and wonderful.