Friday, August 30, 2013

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

My 2 cents:

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld is worth a second look. Narrated by Daisy, a 30-something former social-worker, stay-at-home mom who is married to Jeremy, a loving husband and professor of geophysics. Daisy and Jeremy live in St. Louis, Missouri near the giant arch and are parents to Rosie, 3, and Owen, 1. Daisy is also an identical twin. Her sister, Violet, is a psychic/medium who often talks to her spiritual guide, Guardian, is perpetually short of cash, and generally drives her twin crazy on a regular basis. Daisy also has “senses,” but works hard to shake them off, and be a “normal” wife and mother.

Things get shaky when Violet publicly predicts a major earthquake for the St. Louis area and names a date for the event, October 16. Something earthshattering does happen on the 16th, but it's not the earthquake Vi and Daisy expected.

Sittenfeld's novel, both dark and enlightening, is also funny and sweet in places. Some of the best dialogue comes unexpectedly from Daisy's daughter, Rosie.

Length: 397 pages

Worth Your Time? Yes. Curtis Sittenfeld is also the NY Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My 2 cents:

History and romance buffs alike will swoon over Nora Roberts' newest novel The Perfect Hope. Set in real-life historic Boonsboro, Maryland, The Perfect Hope is the third book in the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy. Filled with the camaraderie of the Montgomery brothers; together with their mother, Justine, the three brothers proudly own and operate a booming construction business.

Beckett Montgomery is married to his high-school sweetheart, Claire, who has three young sons and is expecting two more. Owen Montgomery is engaged to red-haired fireball Avery McTavish, who runs Vesta Pizza and dreams of opening her own upscale restaurant and bar in the town square. Ryder Montgomery, a diamond in the rough, falls hard for Hope Beaumont, the bed-and-breakfast's innkeeper.

Also keeping company at the Inn is Lizzie, a ghost from Civil War times, who is waiting faithfully for her soldier lover, Billy Ryder. Lizzey likes to play with the doors and the lights at Inn Boonsboro, and becomes intertwined in the Montgomery brothers' stories, even as she eventually reveals her own.

The Battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day in the entire Civil War, plays a pivotal role in this modern-day story. Romance fans will enjoy the intimate love scenes and happy endings. All fans of NY Times Bestselling Author Nora Roberts will enjoy the playful, humorous dialogue. (And will probably make you want to go back and read the first two novels in the Inn Boonsboro series, if you haven't already).

Length: 10 hours, 20 minutes on 9 CD's.

Worth Your Time? Yes, this audio-book by Brilliance Audio is performed by MacLeod Andrews, and is good for bedtime when you need a little help getting to sleep.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My 2 cents:

Activate Your Goodness by Shari Arison is subtitled Transforming the World Through Doing Good. Which says it all. A second-time author, Shari Arison is an Israeli-American mother of four and the leader of an international business empire, as well as a generous philanthropist. Arison was ranked one of the World's Most Powerful Women in 2011 and 2012 by Forbes Magazine. Not too shabby.

This little orange book is both anecdotal and informational. Arison tells story after story of people doing good, thinking good and speaking good. Arison talks about her own life, her own tumultous childhood (which included the divorce of her parents, her father's banruptcies, and her bouncing back and forth, by herself, from New York City to Israel). Arison's early adulthood included three marriages … and three divorces. She talks about all this and more, and how learning to do good transformed her life.

Arison also instituted an annual Good Deeds Day through her companies, and she explains in detail how this celebration works, and how readers can institute such a day in their own communities.

Length: 139 pages

Worth Your Time? Yes.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My 2 cents:

No One Could Have Guessed the Weather by Anne-Marie Casey had me at the title. Lucy finds herself living in New York City with her British husband, Richard, and their two young sons, Max and Robbie, at the start of a blazing hot September.

It was, as the forecast told them one day, as if a blowtorch had gone through the city.”

With the downtown of the stockmarket, Richard lost his job, and Lucy lost her nanny, housekeeper, home, and her luxury life as she knew it. Richard gets a new position in NYC, and the family moves into an 800-square-foot apartment that Richard had previously used for a hotel room. Optimistic and energetic, Richard believes the new lifestyle will be good for their family.

After a rocky start in the heat of the city, weeks of sobbing and the death of her mother, Julia opens herself to her new home, and finds a new life.

Reminiscent of Nora Ephron's witty, meaty style, Casey posts this quote by Ephron at the beginning of her novel, just after the dedication page:

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

Anne-Marie Casey now lives in Dublin, Ireland with her husband and two sons. This new novel, her first book, “was inspired by her time living in Manhattan, and her love-love relationship with the city.”

Length: 275 pages

Worth Your Time? Yes, especially if you liked The Nanny Diaries or Nora Ephron's movies. It's a quick read.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My 2 cents:

Rose Harbor in Bloom fills out the Rose Harbor Inn books beautifully. Second in the series, Debbie Macomber's newest novel blossoms like spring flowers in Washington's lovely Cedar Cove.
It's May in the small Pacific Northwest harbor town, and Jo Marie Rose is preparing an Open House to introduce the community to her new bed and breadfast inn. She's still grappling with the death of her husband, while getting the inn up and running, and making all those delicious breakfasts.
Macomber's faithful fans will enjoy meeting a new set of guests at the inn, including a couple about to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary, but who can't seem to get along for five minutes; their young granddaughter who's putting the big party all together; and a successful business executive and cancer survivor who's traveled west to wrestle with her past.

Length: 322 pages

Worth Your Time? Yes. Macomber's tried-and-true combination of old characters woven together with new ones will delight her legions of fans. Rose Harbor in Bloom will be on bookshelves 8/13/13.