Saturday, August 11, 2018
A missing person's case falls into Hester's lap through a woman named Lila. She is looking for her brother, Sam, and his best friend, Gabe, who left Little Comfort, New Hampshire a long time ago. Lila has a collection of postcards she has received from Sam over the years, but that is all the information she can offer Hester.
It doesn't take too long for this novel to turn into a mix of the rich and elite of Boston with the likes of people who would like to take advantage of their money and connections. This is a twisty novel, so I won't say much more except consider this book for a good end of the summer read!
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this novel.
Sunday, August 5, 2018
It seems almost predictable that Willa would have two sons who paid little attention to her and grew up like their father, self-involved and indifferent to a woman who gave up all she wanted to be, a linguist, to raise them.
Willa's husband dies in a road rage car accident, and Willa gains some freedom to start working on her life and what she always wanted. Willa's sons, Sean and Ian have left home and offer their mother no comfort with communication or visits.
She started back to school. Unfortunately, another hapless male comes along and convinces her to marry and move to Phoenix. The only thing Willa likes about the desert environment is the Saguaro cactus. It thrives on little care, much the same as our dear Willa.
A whole new chapter unfolds when Willa gets a call telling her that her son's ex-girlfriend in Baltimore is in the hospital and needs someone to care for her eleven-year-old child. Willa takes on that challenge, and the enjoyable part of the story happens here with people she doesn't know but learns to love.
The Clock Dance is yet another Anne Tyler novel to love and cherish just like Willa needs love and care.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Welcome to the 21st century where litigation has become a way of life, it's a kind of art form. Nick is suing for male discrimination and even quotes their associate, John Foxman, saying he feels uncomfortable work at the firm, believes he will never make partner, and is looking for a new job.
This novel got exciting fast and kept me glued to the very end, actually on the edge of my seat at the very end. I enjoyed this novel and plan to read more of this series.
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this electronic ARC.
Maxine Simmons, the protagonist, begins the novel with a major meltdown at her own Thanksgiving extravaganza done in a tropical style. Maxine disgraces herself in front of the country club hu ha's and her starched, upper-crust husband, Douglas. The next day she is out on the street, relegated to a condo Douglas owns in Scottsdale, Arizona. Gone are her glory days in Palm Springs, California. Despite trying to negotiate with Douglas's attorney and managing to get a relatively small settlement, she is leaving her life of luxury, deleted.
On her way out, smart Maxine changes cars and drives away with hubby's Jaguar. She is delighted with that sweet victory. She drives to Scottsdale and her new life. The condo is tacky, ugly, lonely and on the wrong side of town. Maxine starts putting her new life together and comes up with some bright ideas as she moves along. She meets a bartender, Robert, and finds a dear friend in him. He is handsome and an excellent listener. She adds a young boy, Chuck, to her new circle of friends. Chuck is eleven years old and takes care of his toddler sister since his Mom works a lot and has many boyfriends. Chuck proves to be a great problem solver. These three characters take turns narrating their story. It is delicious.
Maxine decides to put all of them together as a family and enter the Mr. and Mrs. American Pie Pageant, a beauty pageant of sorts but more complicated with husband and kid expectations as well. The show takes place in Palm Springs, and it involves much work and near misses to get them there and into the top twenty.The story is funny and sad and shows the meanness of people and the glorious goodness of most of us. Mr. and Mrs. American Pie is a novel for today as much as it was about 1970.
Thank you, NetGalley and Inkshares for the opportunity to read this e-ARC.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Paul drifts into Susan's life, into her family. He dines with the family, helps Mr. Macleod with his gardening and often sleeps on the living room sofa. Nineteen-year-old Paul has no idea of where this relationship is going. Paul is afraid of getting old and somehow sees his love affair with Susan as experience for when he finds someone later on in life, the real thing. Paul seems to have a permanent case of boredom and his fixture in the Macleod household works for Susan who has lost the desire she once had for her husband.
There are lessons to be learned from this novel, even though most of them jump out at you when they are happening. Julian Barnes's voice is sharp clarity of how weak, and easy decisions can spread throughout a person's life and family and destroy the roots of a good relationship. JB doesn't hide behind his thoughts and deeds. It is a cold, mean look at the harm a person can, especially a man, bring to a vulnerable human. The writing, as always, is superb and for the skill itself, I will reread this novel.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
The competitions are between the two girls; they outperform all their peers. The prizes include a Severin Scholarship (named after a famous researcher), a college scholarship, and top place in the graduating class. Kit wins the awards, and her perfect life unfolds before her. After her doctoral studies, Kit earns a spot in Dr. Severin's lab, and she is happy, truly happy. When a new National Institute of Health Grant comes up, Kit isn't worried about her place on the team. Then, Diane arrives. The exciting and wild part of the novel is when these two brilliant women come together. The suspense in this part of the book was phenomenal. I loved it!
Thank you, NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for giving me the opportunity to read this e-ARC.
The apparent issue is Nicholas's morbid obesity. He is a surgeon who needs to be clear-headed and physically active to perform the long, delicate brain surgeries he specializes in, but Nicholas has trouble walking from his car to the operating theater. Nicholas is still able to function with his team giving him their full support. At home, the support level is entirely different, and Alyson is disgusted with how Nicholas looks and the lack of attention he gives to anyone but himself and his food. Their two children are loving but barely hanging on with two dysfunctional parents.
A crisis takes the novel to its beautiful denouement, and I applaud this expertly told story of life in that part of society we think is perfect. There is no perfection, we all live with a struggle. The critical factor is how we handle those struggles.
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this E-ARC.
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Loveday trusts Bruce. He looks after her and even arranged for her to have a lovely small apartment, fresh and painted. Loveday has everything she needs, spending each day sorting out boxes of donated books and continuously organizing the shelves. Most people are kind to Loveday in return for her kindness. Her one mistake seems to be in agreeing to go out with a Ph.D. student, Rob, who turns into a nuisance when she tries to keep their relationship at arm's length. Loveday has no interest in committing to a relationship and Rob is determined to get closer to Loveday. He begins to be a real irritant which makes LD worry about how to get rid of Rob without hurting him.
The sky opens up when Loveday meets a charming poet, Nathan, in a local pub. He isn't overpowering but offers her kind attention, and she finds herself becoming more attached with each Wednesday poetry night she attends. Life is beginning to open up for Loveday, and then strange things start to happen. First, she finds a box of books that are the same set of books as she had when she was a kid. Bits and pieces of her lost childhood begin to appear, and she is sure that someone she trusted is now taunting her and making her life miserable once again.
It was a joy to continue following this character's journey to find the resolution to her suffering and see how it all turns out for our dear, dear Loveday. I enjoyed meeting all the caring people who came together as a loving family in the Lost for Words Bookshop.
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this e-ARC.
Sunday, June 24, 2018
The story is about two extremely close friends who have weathered a long life together and now live in a retirement community called The Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. The residents live independent lives in their flats with meals and cleaning services. The community room arranges ways for the residents to amuse themselves and socialize with each other.
Florence Claybourne, our unreliable narrator, has fallen in her flat and while she waits for someone to find her, she ruminates about her life and her dear friend, Elsie. Elsie and Flo became friends on the first day of school eons ago. Flo gave up her seat to a disabled girl and sat down with Elsie. That small gesture cemented together with the lives of Flo and Elsie. They know each other inside out, can finish each other's sentences even though Elsie seems to have a better grasp of names and dates.
The ladies come from a small town where everyone knew each other's private lives and who made a success of it and who did not. What I learned from M. Cannon was that it is the small things that happen in life that can change an entire life and make it worthwhile, no matter what the world thinks of your status in society. This novel was another favorite of mine from the wonderful novelist. Joanna Cannon.
Thank you, NetGalley and Scribner for the opportunity to read this e-Arc.
USA publication is expected on August 7th, 2018
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Hope comes from Virginia, outside of Charlottesville, where she grew up with her half-sister, Eden. Their father divorced Hope's mother, and he and Eden's mother were never married. Dad is a writer and a professor, living an alternative life in the countryside southwest of Charlottesville. When the girls were growing up, they took the bus to their father's town every Friday after school where he picked them up. When Eden was sixteen and Hope was fourteen their dad didn't show up at the bus stop to get them. They wound up with someone named Larry who said he was a friend of their dad and he sent him to get them. Larry said the dad was having trouble with his camper van. This day was the beginning of the hell that both of them would live in for much of the rest of their lives.
It is never clear in the novel if either girl suffered a rape, but they were kept against their wills, tied up outside in only their underwear. Their escape isn't as important as what happened to them afterward. The dysfunctional family of one father, two mothers, and a stubborn Eden set all their lives on end. Eden went to a boarding school, and Hope never really saw her again.
The story moves twenty years forward to a turning point in the story and Hope's life. The D.A. wants to interview both of them as Larry, their abductor, is up for parole. Hope decides to try to find Eden to talk to her about what happened and see if she can help make a case against Larry.
The trip takes her from New York to California, searching for Eden, but in more significant ways, searching for what created a massive hole in her soul, one that no one and nothing seems able to repair. This was a difficult novel to process. Hope's lonely journey through life is painful to witness. Ms. Kleine's insightful portrait of real-life pain makes it an excellent story.
Thank you, NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read the e-ARC.
The publication date for Eden is July 10th 2018.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Andrew, still working at a university in NYC, taught 3-4 sections of online students in the MOOC program (Massive Open Online Courses offered by top schools to anyone who wanted to participate online). Andrew had barely enough to live on but gingerly went about trying to find the Russia he left when he was a child when he moved to Boston with his family. Just traversing the widely spaced open streets of Moscow was a huge challenge and it took Andrew a good enough amount of time to find people to socialize with and to play hockey with, his great love. He had trouble finding Wi-Fi, but coincidentally he stumbled on a place across from the KGB building, called The Grind and he spent time there working on communication with his students and reading their work.
Everyone Andrew came across was worried about the USA financial collapse and if electing Barack Obama was the right thing to do in those perilous times. With some like-minded students and his hockey friends, Andrew created a life that seemed to work. He never had any money and finding food for him, and his grandmother was always foremost on his mind, along with a young woman named Yulia who Andrew developed a lovely relationship. He fell in love.
After a year in Mosco and many adventures, Andrew begins to think clearly about where Putin is going with his power plays and that leaves Andrei with some big decisions to make. This brilliant novel gave me an excellent look into a world I would like to know better.
Thank you, NetGalley, and Viking for allowing me to read this advance galley.
Publish date is July 10th 2018.
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Jack carried on trying to feed the kids. They didn't go to school, living in a sorely neglected state. Somehow, this fact went unnoticed by the authorities and life carried on for a good long while.
Another story unfolds in the novel about a burglar who breaks into houses when the owners or tenants are away. He eats their food, steals some valuable things and sleeps in their beds. The cops call him Goldilocks, and they can't catch him.
This novel is sad and chilling to the core. BB ingeniously unfolds the mysteries, telling multiple stories of people who no one cares about. Jack is a hero, a teenager hero.
Thank you, NetGalley and Transworld Digital for offering me this e-ARC.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
As a child. Keiko did not fit in, starting in elementary school, with acting in a somewhat aggressive way when she saw something done against another child. Some people might suggest that Keiko is on the autistic spectrum, but that is not a part of the story. Keiko doesn't get better as she grows up, she rarely socializes and depends on her younger sister to help her with social cues. When she is in college and finds a part-time job in the store, Keiko seems to have found her niche.
Keiko has seen workers come and go and even managers who leave after a relatively short time. She knows that certain new employees probably won't make it and most often, she is correct. Her work peers realize she is different but depend on her and respect her knowledge of the job. I enjoyed learning about all the various snacks served in the store and was so happy that Keiko's path led her to the exact place she needed to inhabit.
Thank you, NetGalley and Grove Press for the opportunity to read this ARC.
Monday, May 28, 2018
The expensive wedding gets downgraded when Mark loses his job. The couple decides to continue with their trip to Bora Bora, down to two weeks, from three.Even though there is a beautiful home waiting for the couple when they return, they begin to make questionable decisions based on money. The relationship takes a quick turn, and the reader must buckle up for a brush with criminals, police, and mysterious people who are following Erin. She never seems to doubt her actions because she wants the life she expected to have and is determined to get it, no matter what she has to do. The key to destruction here is the money. Erin followed the money.
Thank you, NetGalley and Ballantine for this E-arc.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Lucy works long, exhausting hours in the E.R. and as a result, begins to see the deterioration of her marriage. Her husband actually presents an ultimatum on one particular night and her trauma of losing the man she thought she could depend on adds to her difficult life.
Other interesting characters come into the picture. Claire is a resident of a nursing home and about to win the trophy as the oldest resident at 100.She is quiet, keeps to herself, and the unfolding of her story is worth the reading.
LOS writes knowledgeably about both the physical and mental health of all the characters and does and a heartwarming job of bringing people together with great compassion and empathy.
Thank you, NetGalley and Scribner for the opportunity to read this e-ARC.